Boyle Traditional Singers' Circle - Ciorcal Ámhránaíochta Traidisiúnta Mhainistir na Búille

NEXT SESSION: Boyle: Saturday, 21 April 2018.

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Fáilte - Welcome
to the Boyle Singers' circle - Ciorcal Amhránaíochta Mhainistir na Búille

Traditional unaccompanied singing, in English and Irish.

Dodd’s Crescent Bar (back room), The Crescent, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland.
The third Saturday of every month, all year around, 9.30pm onwards.

All singers and listeners welcome.



The Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) has many sound recordings available online. A Christmas Collection, compiled as an Advent Calendar is online there at the moment.

Irish Traditional Music Archive: online Advent Calendar

Nollaig Shona díobh go léir ón gCiorcal Amhránaíochta i Mainistir na Búille.

November 2011

Grand session took place in November. Grander one due December. Get down your Santy hats, put tinsel on your tonsils and come along and SING - December 17th, Saturday, Dodds.

Extra session: Friday October 25th 2011

The Boyle Singers' group held an extra singing session on Friday of the October Bank Holiday as part of the general celebrations of an open Boyle weekend. There was a good crowd, with some new faces from over south Sligo direction.

Some of the regulars were missing, due to the fact that the South Roscommon Singers Circle has its annual gathering the same weekend in Knockcroghery. The theme for the Friday night Knockcroghery crowd was Heroes and Patriots.

The South Roscommon Singers Circle meet on the first Saturday of every month, from September to June in Murray's. So you can have a pre-run to Boyle Singers' 3rd Saturday every 1st Saturday.

October 2011

Eugene, MC for the night, started in great style with


‘Oh it was one pleasant evening, all in the month of May

Down by a shady arbour as I carelessly did stray...’

About false young Johnny, cruising the main ocean for honour and for gain, and then wrecked off the coast of Spain or was he? Nah, he wasn’t: ‘Betsy I’m your man’, and they met up on the “Banks of Claudy” again.

Tony followed with “The lambs on the green hills”, with less luck,’ I would be your man, although you are wed to another’. Joe, visiting from Scotland, gave us another unlucky love story, ‘Our young lady a hunting’s gane' ... 'so’s she’s rowled him in her apron’.


Joe’s family passed the parcel (or bundle) on to George, who gave us a great version of “Dear Old Skibbereen”,

‘How well I do remember that bleak December day,

When the landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away;

They set the roof on fire with their yellow demon spleen,

And when it fell, the crash was heard all over Skibbereen.’


There were songs from Helen (‘Along the wild plains of Mayo’), Paddy (rousing version of ‘Keep your hands off Red Haired Mary’), Frank (“Deartháirín Óg mo chroí”: ‘Now I’m alone like the desolate bird of the night), John (“Nancy Spain”), Frances (“A maiden who is forty”), Breege (“Annan Waters”), John (“The road and the miles to Dundee”), Clíona (“Reynardine”), Noreen (“Heave away”).

Clare by special request sang Liam Weldon’s “My love is a well” beautifully.

‘My love is a well, a deep-seated well,

As deep as the bottomless sea

Immersed am I in the well of my love,

Immersed in ecstasy.’


Murt Collins had

‘A young mother stood on Queenstown Dock

With a handkerchief up to her eye’.

And ‘no one to welcome you home’.



Eugene’s guager out of Dublin was looking for a private still (‘Here’s fifty pounds if you can show me where there’s a private still’):

‘We’re coming near to it now, says I, at a barracks close at hand’...

‘Says I, me brother Bill,

They wouldn’t make him a corporal, so he’s a ... Private, still!’

started off the second part of the evening. Tony followed up with another Liam Weldon song, “Blue tar road”, ‘I am a true born Irishman, a traveller am I’.

Joe (“Anne McPherson”, sailing out from Scotland bound for Montreal), Mary said the “Fiddler of Dooney”, Murt (“My dear old home in the Kerry hills” and his native Brosna town), George (‘Some folks say I’m a dreamer’ from the Isle of Inisfree).

Helen (On Easter Day, you passed my way), Paddy (Willie MacBride), Frank (‘A man in the fields with his horses and plough’). After a couple more recitations from Sean and Frances, Breege sang “The home I left behind”).

When it came around to John again, he sang of ”Beautiful Meath”, Clíona (Tráthnóinín aoibhinn), Noreen (Mountains of Mourne) and Clare, at her turn, sang of Wicklow and Dunlavin Green (‘In the year 1798...’).

The free-for-all go another song from most people before we headed for home, including the Twangman from Eugene, and Frank’s “Happy are we, all together”, "When I first said I loved only you Nora" (Clare).

Thanks to all who came and sang and listened. Hope to see you all at another singing session soon.

September 2011

This session spy was away scouting for singing sessions in Europe so the Boyle singers' session details went unrecorded, though we're told, we missed the BEST session yet... as you do.

August 2011 ... Harvest time

Tony made his debut as MC for the night and some of the new faces met at the Arts Festival session in July were welcomed back again.

Gearing up for the winter and don't forget the Sligo Traditional singers weekend at the beginning of October.

July 28th, 2011: I wanna sing... Boyle Singers host Phil Callery

As part of the Boyle Arts Festival, the Boyle Singers' Session hosted Phil Callery of the Voice Squad on July 28th, 2011.

The evening kicked off with a short, too short, workshop with Phil organising amazing on-the-spot harmonies from the gang who arrived. And what a gang. About 15 were present for the start, then someone turned on a tap somewhere and buckets-full of singers poured through the door! "I wanna sing" .

Names were collected as people arrived, and the list used to organise the solo singing spots in the session which followed. Eugene did a masterful MC job of getting around to every one who wanted to sing. The spotlight was back on Phil a couple of times during the night and he definitely didn't disappoint! On top of that, we all heard over 40 singers sing a huge variety of songs, local, national, international (thanks Katya and the Italian classical musicians over in the corner), old and new. The storytellers didn't stint either and the contributions were lively. There was was a good turn out from our neighbouring singing circles in South Roscommon (... below in Knockcroghery... with Declan Coyne, Paddy Logan and others) and the Sligo Traditional Singers Circle (Joe, Breeda, Michael, Assumpta, Deirdre). Both those groups have singing weekends coming up in October, so keep an eye out for them. There were visitors, frequent to Boyle, but the first time at the Singers Session, from singing clubs as far away as Bray and ... Drumkieran.

The highlights of the night (and early morning) were a couple of new songs, both composed in the neighbourhood, or near neighbourhood: Killykelly (the one with the jacuzzi in it) sung by Joe Corscadden and MacCostello's Una by Helen Grehan. Jackie Boyce sang a song he learned from Phil's singing, years ago. Hughie, Donna, Breege, Mairéad, Frank, George, Clare, Eugene, Gerry, Jimmy, Barry, Derval, Martin, Declan, Seán, and ... many more.

We'd love to see you all back again, whenever you can make it. Or we'll catch you in Knockcroghery, Sligo, Dublin.

July 16th 2011

A grand night in the middle of the Festival season. Willie Clancy and Tubbercurry just over, the Joe Mooney in Drumshanbo about to begin.

Gearing up for the session with Phil Callery on the 28th July.

June 18th 2011

Frank Brennan elected unanimously, despite his protestations, as MC. First definite decision he made, i.e. that he was too busy to sing himself, was ruled out of order by the masses. Elphin was well represented, some irregular regulars welcomed back and songs were plentiful.

Looking forward to the Boyle Arts Festival Special Session, Thursday 28th July, with Phil Callery. Singing workshop 8.30-10pm, in Dodd's Crescent Bar, with Phil Callery. Singers' session, 10 ish, onwards, with songs from the floor and from the guest. Be there early to get your name on the list if you want to sing. Be there early anyway. Free in.

21 May 2011

The Queen had been and gone and Barack Obama was coming that Monday and Garret Fitzgerald was laid to rest in between.

Jim Bainbridge kicked off Saturday's night singing singing session with Keep that wheel a turning... there was mention of William Brown. Eugene followed with In Bodenstown Churchyard, then Sean with Spancil Hill.
Paddy sang of the Dunraven oak and Clare of the sea-apprentice boy:
“When first I went to sea apprentice bound,
I sailed the salt seas round and round,
I scarce had made a voyage but one
when I fell in love with my charming Anne”.

Then on to Frank with The Lowlands of Holland and Frances who gave us a recitation about Mary Ann and her gloves. Tony: “Come all you loyal heroes and listen on to me...” - the Rocks of Bawn. Eddie "Shall I never see thee more gentle Mother", followed by his brother George who sang of Michael Dwyer. Then Breege who sang of Eastersnowe.

Padraic McGinn (recitation) was "looking for a woman...” he won 3rd in the Bard of Armagh competition with it some years back. Led to Helen singing of Himself who’d get "hot air for breakfast, cold shoulder for dinner and surely hot tongue for his tae!

Second round of songs Jim gave gave us an Eric Bogle song:
“Can you sing some Bob Dylan....
NO, NO, a 1,000 times NO!

Eugene sang of "A jolly young ploughman" and then Sean was Back home in Derry followed by Paddy with "Grace", Clare sang of the Blantyre explosion and so was by Clyde’s bonnie banks. Frank a Deartháirín óg mo chroí... “In Dublin’s fair city my brother he was sent away". Frances recitation, The old violin. Then Tony and the Bank of Red Roses, Eddie sang of the Harp and Shamrock, green, white and gold,George of “A virgin who was 19 yrs old”.

Breege Sang a song for Ireland, Padraic gave us another recitation, “Did I tell you about my operation...” Helen followed with a song Grumpy old cider.

Round three! Back to Jim again with Ann Boleyn with her head tucked under her arm! Eugene a Bob Davenport song Police Patrol; then Sean and Black is the colour; Paddy and the Wild Rover; Clare and Sean O’Casey’s “When I first said I loved only you Nora”. Frank,.. "Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff"; Tony and "The Lambs on the green hills”; Eddie and a rousing "This is my homeland...”; brother George and "O to be in Dun na Ríthe; Breege and "It’s nearly over now and now I'm easy and Helen finished up the night with one of her own "He still loves her".

Thanks to Clare for the notes.

April 16th 2011 Frank Finn

We were halfway through our session on Saturday night when we got the very sad news that Frank Finn, chairman of the Sligo Traditional Singing Circle had collapsed and died during that day. We have met Frank often, both at the Boyle and Ballinacarrow sessions. We've attended the Sligo Trad Singing circles annual festival, and been made very welcome by Frank. Tony and Cliona last had the pleasure of his company up in InishOwen in March. Those who knew Frank each sang a song for him on Saturday. Our thoughts are with his family and all his friends. He'll be very much missed. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

March 2011

Due to conflicting singing sessions, this writer wasn't present. Made it to the Inishowen singers' festival weekend up in Clonmany / Ballyliffin instead.

Sean-Nós Cois Life 2011: 31 MÁRTA - 3 AIBREÁN 2011

Féile Shean-Nós Cois Life: 31 MÁRTA - 3 AIBREÁN 2011. Seisiúin amhánaíochta, cheoil agus dhamhsa. Ceardlanna - deis cúpla amhrán nó damhsa a fhoghlaim. Bí ann - fáilte roimh chách! Sean-Nós Cois Life will take place in Dublin city from Thursday 31st March – Sunday 3rd April 2011. Tuilleadh eolais: http://www.seannos.ie/

February 2011 session

Our February session came before our recent General Election. Eugene
kicked off the night with "The politican's song" by Micky McConnell
... "for twenty fruitless years...". Then the same man gave us "The
star of the bar" by Davie Robertson. Next up was George singing about
Eileen McMahon, followed by his brother James who was "Among the
Wicklow Hills"... As I gaze across the mountains I relive a moment's
joy … the same old Wicklow mountains I rambled as a boy. Breege gave
us, "Go and leave me I won't mind" and Helen," I must away now, I can
no longer tarry" followed by Paddy with Willie McBride.

Next up Frank Brennan and "Horses and plough"… "Sweet is the music the song thrushes sing". Then Michael and "Fields of Athenry", followed
by Frances who did a recitation about the old violin.


Clare gave us Ewan McColl's "Come my little son". Sean at the bar
"Wish I was back home in Derry". Next there was Donie singing about
Annie.
Back to Euge and "The Gauger's Song" which he heard Robin Morton of
Boys of the Lough singing. Back to George and "I am my own Grandpa!",
James who sang of Noreen Bawn, Breege and "An Seanduine dóite".

Helen "On Easterday you passed my way". Paddy with "Grace", Michael
and "Forty Shades of Green". Frank Brennan and "Island of Australia.
"…no good fortune have I known, in this my own dear nation", Donie:
"When I was a young apprentice". Frances - another recitation about the
weather. Back to Euge again "Do me justice treat me fair .... Mr.
Punch with his literature depicts us rather badly". Then George who
sang "Peter Crowley" and joined his brother James for "The valley of
Knockanure": "You may sing, you may speak, about Easter Week". Then
we had "She moved through the fair" by Padraic Colum from Noeleen. "A
song for Ireland" from Breege. Helen sang her own composition: "I'm
going home, soon as I can, to buy a farm in Ireland... Boyle town is
down in a valley". Paddy "Shaney boy" written by Australian song
writer Kevin Johnson.


"Chapel gate at Cooraclare" from Frank. "Blackwaterside from Clare-and
"Lakes of Coolfin". "Maid of Cabra West" from Donie. Lastly Helen
finished up the night with her song about the foot and mouth disease
in the Cumbrian hills.


With thanks to Clare for the report.

18 January 2011

Oh, where to start with the January collection of songs?

Eugene was MC and moved the session along in jig time so we heard loads of lovely songs. There were some composed by their singers: Bríd, George, Cyril and Doney; some fresh ones, new to the session, from Tony, George, Frank, Paddy, Brian, Eileen, Tommy and more favourites from everybody. There was even a story from Eugene. Silence from Clíona (still no voice), Helen and Clare (as those two couldn’t make it that night).

Boneparte got a look-in and was done with (by Brian): We paid in hell since Moscow burned ...

Save my soul from evil, lord and heal this soldier's heart
I'll trust in thee to keep me, lord, I'm done with Bonaparte

And later Frank added the Plains of Waterloo:
When Boney's star was in the sky, my love he marched away,
He told me that he loved me true; would marry me some day,
He said that he'd return to me, whatever would ensue,
But now he lies with sightless eyes on the plains of Waterloo.

Cyril and Tony both sang of geese. Cyril’s story was about Jim Reilly going to Boyle and Tony sang the shanty:
Have you seen a wild goose sail across the ocean; Ranzo me boys, Ranzo hey
They’re just like the pretty girls when they gets the notion; Ranzo me boys, Ranzo hey


Doney sang sadly of how Manhood is no more –
All the trad boys look forlorn, ‘cos definitely, no flutes
But Cyril came back with: Oh, you lovers of mirth, I pray, pay attention
It's that damnable rogue of a Daniel O'Connell-
He's now making children in Dublin by steam.

Tony was concerned with the seasons, and began with January Man (by Dave Goulder):
Oh the January man he walks abroad in woollen coat and boots of leather
The February man still wipes the snow from off his hair and blows his hand
The man of March he sees the Spring and wonders what the year will bring
And hopes for better weather

And on through the year until:
And the January man comes round again in woollen coat and boots of leather
To take another turn and walk along the icy road he knows so well
The January man is here for starting each and every year
Along the way for ever.

And later he moved on into Robbie Burn’s Summer:
The winter it is past, and the summer comes at last,
And the small birds sing on ev'ry tree

Doney stayed in Scotland for
Up the Noran Water, roon by Ingle's Maddie,
Annie's got a bairnie that hasna got a daddie.
Who the bairnie's father is the lassie winna say,
An nobody expected it with Annie's quiet ways.

George sang of courting:
Johnny get up from the fire, get up and give the man a seat
Can't you see it's Mr. Maguire and he's courtin' your sister Kate
Ah, you know very well he owns a farm a wee bit out of the town
Arragh get up out of that, you impudent brat, and let Mr Maguire sit down.

But the temperature changed for Mr Maguire:
Ah I don't know what gets into him, for he's always on the tare
Arragh just sit where you are and never you dare to give ould Maguire the chair

There was a congenial atmosphere and Frank sang Happy Are We All Together
'Twas friendship brought us here tonight
Which brought on a Ben Sands song from Cyril
We all need a hug...
Majella took down the words of that one.

Eugene told a story about the Owl who was God (by James Thurber) and the gist was:

“... there was an owl who sat on the branch of an oak tree...”
Some moles told the other creatures that the owl was the wisest of all animals because he could see in the dark and answer any question.

A secretary bird went to see the owl: "How many claws am I holding up?" said the secretary bird. "Two," said the owl, and that was right. "Can you give me another expression for ‘that is to say’ or ‘namely’?" asked the secretary bird. "To wit," said the owl. "Why does the lover call on his love?" "To woo," said the owl.

The other animals heard of this exchange and declared "He’s God!" So they followed him wherever he went and when he bumped into things they began to bump into things, too.

The animals followed him, even up a motorway and they were still crying "He’s God" when a truck ran them down. Most of the animals, including the owl, were killed.

The moral went something like this:
You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

Then Brian:
As I was going along the road and feeling fine and larky O,
A recruiting sergeant trim and neat said you’d look fine in khaki O.

There was loads more, and towards the end, Eileen sang:
The fire is out, the moon is down
The parting glass is dry and done
And I must go and leave this town
Before the rising of the sun.

And so we did.

Next up is the February session.

Jim Bainbridge guests at the Góilín singing club

Jim Bainbridge, who has been frequenting the Boyle Singers session in the past year is to be an invited guest at Dublin's Góilín singing club on Friday, January 28th, 2011.

Boyle Singers Circle poster