Spancil Hill

from by Michael Kelly

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about

The story of Michael Considine, who emigrated to the United States
around 1870. Spancilhill is a place which, today, is little more
than a crossroads, four miles from Ennis in County Clare, Ireland..
but was once the site of one of the largest horse fairs in the
British Isles. Unlike this popularized version of the song, the
original lyrics tole of Michael's sweetheart as 'Mack the ranger's
daughter', Mary MacNamara. Though it was his intention to bring
Mary over to the new world to wed her, he never managed to save
enough money. Plagued by ill health and knowing that he had little
time left to live, Michael wrote the song and sent it back to his
family in Ireland shortly before his death in 1873. Remaining
faithful to his memory, Mary never married.

lyrics

Last night as I lay dreaming of pleasant days gone by
My mind being set on roving, to Ireland I did fly
I stepped on board a vision, and followed with the wind
'Till at last I came to anchor at the cross of Spancilhill

Delighted by the novelty, enchanted by the scene
Where in my early childhood so many times I'd been
I thought I heard a murmur, sure I think I hear it still
T'was the gentle stream of water that flows through Spancilhill

To amuse a passing fancy I lay upon the ground
And I saw my school companions, they shortly gathered 'round
As we were home returning, we danced with bright goodwill
To the pipes of Martin Connohan at the cross of Spancilhill

It being the twenty-third of June, the day before the fair
When Ireland's sons and daughters in crowds assembled there
The young, the old, the brave and bold, their journeys to fulfill
There were jovial conversations at the field of Spancilhill

I stepped up to my neighbours, to see what they might say
The old ones, they were dead and gone, the young ones turning grey
I met with tailor Quigley, he's as bold as ever, still
Sure, he used to make my britches when I lived on Spancilhill

I paid a flying visit to my first and only love
She's as fair as any lily and as gentle as a dove
She threw her arms around me, saying "Johnny, I love you still"
She's Ned the farmer's daughter, and the pride of Spancilhill

I dreamed I held and kissed her as I did in days of yore
She said, "Johnny, you're only jokin' as so many the time before"
The cock crew in the morning, he crew both loud and shrill
I awoke in California, many miles from Spancilhill

credits

from Fields of the North, released February 1, 2003
Guitar, Vocals - Michael Kelly

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Michael Kelly Vancouver, British Columbia

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