“Barry of Macroom”

Author: Richard Ryan (source: Croker-PopularSongs)
Earliest date: 1839 (Croker-PopularSongs)
Keywords: drink wife doctor disease

Description

After a dinner party the whisky-punch is brought out "and soon all 'neath the table lay" except Barry. He challenges all at each whisky shop with the same result. He comes sick, ignores doctor's warning to avoid drink, and lives many years.

Notes

In the first verse the singer claims no one compares to "bold Barry of Macroom" when it comes to punch-drinking. The song names two presumed champions of the past: Dan MacCarty and Jem Nash. Croker cites Smith's _History of Kerry_ where MacCarty, dead in 1751 at 112, is said to have drunk "for many of the last years of his life, great quantities ...."

Croker-PopularSongs: "The town of Macroom ... is about eighteen miles west of the city of Cork. Upwards of eighty years ago [before 1759], Smith, in his 'History of Cork,' observes that, 'in this town are some whisky distillers; a liquor and manufacture so pernicious to the poor, that it renders every other employment useless to them.'" - BS

References

  1. Croker-PopularSongs, pp. 98-101, "Barry of Macroom" (1 text)
  2. BI, CrPS098