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

3rd Saturday of every month. Next session: 16th November 2019.

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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.

Len Graham at the Boyle Traditional SIngers' Circle, Arts week 2014.

‘I am a rambling Irish man...’. Len Graham first heard a fragment of this song over fifty years ago, in 1963, from Joe Holmes. Joe introduced himself to Len at an Antrim and Derry Fiddlers’ Association gathering, and gave him one verse and the chorus of the Rambling Irishman. Len later got three more verses from Joe’s daughter in Belfast. Len gave it to Cathal McConnell, and it was on the first Boys of the Lough album. Dolores Keane heard it from Len and it was on the first Dé Danann album also. Further verses have come to light in America and were brought to Len’s attention when he visited Boston College, a couple of years ago, showing the song dates back, possibly, to the end of the 18th century, as the Eliza, referred to in one of the verses, left Co. Fermanagh in 1790.  
            ‘Twas on a Sunday morning, as Phoebus was adawning,
‘Twas on the day we sailed away, on the brig they call Eliza;
When four or five of our best men by fever were compounded,
Aye, and seven more jumped overboard, were wilfully drowndèd.

Len Graham, from Co. Antrim, visited Boyle for the first time in 1966, for the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. In July 2014, he was the guest of the Boyle Traditional Singers’ Circle, for a special singing night, organised by the Traditional Singers’ Circle and sponsored by Boyle Arts Festival, bringing his extensive store of song-knowledge to the singing workshop and the evening singing session which followed.

The Rambling Irishman was the first song of the workshop. The second song was a song Len’s neighbour sings and Len’s been searching for over 50 years to find it elsewhere and hasn’t yet been successful.

One morning in May, as I carelessly did stray
For to view yon gay meadows and the lambs sport and play
In the clear morning dew, as I lay down to muse
A fair maiden of honour appeared in my view.

Len also had the singers singing Mary Ann Carolan’s version of the Bonny Light Horseman. Mrs. Carolan (1929-1993) from Drogheda, Co. Louth, has left a strong legacy of songs and singing. The family’s singing tradition is being kept alive by her son, Pat and grandson, Stewart.

The story to the next song again stretched back to the 1960s: Clones – 50th anniversary of the 1964 All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. Amongst the eminent musicians revisiting Clones for the anniversary was Tommy MacDermott, from Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh. Tommy, now nearly 90 years of age, launched Matt Hyland, at the Clones Fleadh Cheoil in 1964. The song has now gone into the folk tradition.

There was a lord, lived in this town, who had a handsome, comely, daughter,
She was courted by a fair young man, who was a servant to her father.

Once the workshop was over, the singing session itself got underway. There were several local singers first and then it was back to Len. He dedicated his first song to Pauline Sweeney Hanley, originally from Donegal, a wonderful singer, sadly recently deceased. It was a song of Sarah Anne O’Neill’s, Dobbin’s Flowery Vale:
As I roved out one evening fair, in the pleasant month of June.

Len’s selection of songs was interspersed with anecdotes, one about an ancestor of his own, Wally Graham, who was hanged, drawn and quartered. His head was paraded around the town, but the crier, instead of saying, as he was supposed to: ‘Behold the head of the traitor Graham’ garbled the message and cried: ‘Behold the head of the craythur Graham’. In 1955, Len’s father brought him to see the beech tree where Wally was hanged, but it had blown down in the big wind of 1947 and was  there no more.
                Oh William McKeever, Oh you are much to blame ...

The room at the back of Dodd’s was bursting with singers, so just to mention a few: from the floor, Róisín Ní Ghallóglaigh, who was singing in King House the following day, (where she was accompanied by Alan Reid from Leitrim), sang the Lowlands of Holland. Jackie Boyce, from the Drumkieran Leitrim singers sang

                The Nightingale

Oh woeful was the day when I was pressed to sail afar
And leave behind the girl I loved in the town of Ballinagard.
The shady groves were my delight till I was forced to sail.
You all may guess at my distress lying in the Nightingale.

And Clare McGuirk (Boyle) sang the Maid of Coolmore

If I had the power, the storm to rise
I would blow the wind higher for to darken the skies
I would blow the wind higher to make the salt seas to roar
On the day that my love sailed away from Coolmore

Len Graham is to be a guest of Jackie Boyce and Jim Bainbridge’s Drumkieran singers early in November. We hope they have as good a session as we had in Boyle and we hope to see them back in Boyle with us, November 15th, when our guest will be the Donegal singer, Grace Toland.

Góilín Song Project


Góilín Song Project

was launched at the Frank Harte Weekend, last Friday night (September 26th, 2014) in Dublin.

The Góilín Club is a traditional singing club that has been meeting, (almost) every Friday night, (with a break for the Summer months) in Dublin city, since 1979. The venue has changed a few times over the years, and the club is currently to be found in the Teachers' Club on Parnell Square.

The Góilín Song Project is a selection of recordings made at the club over the years:
"Some 700 audio recordings made at the Góilín since the early 1980s can be heard here, supplemented with photographs, printed items, singer profiles and video interviews. This is an ongoing collaborative project of the Góilín and ITMA."

ITMA is the Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann, the Irish Traditional Music Archive, 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Boyle Singers Circle poster