“Daniel O'Connell (I)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1957 (recording, O. J. Abbott)
Keywords: age disability sex army pregnancy Ireland political baby children tinker
Found in: Canada(Ont)

Description

Singer overhears an old woman and a tinker; he says Daniel O'Connell is now making children in Dublin by steam; those made the old way are too few. She berates O'Connell for removing the people's best diversion; he salutes her

Long description

Singer overhears an old woman and a tinker talking; he says Daniel O'Connell is now making children in Dublin by steam, because those made the old way are too small and too few. She berates O'Connell for removing the people's best diversion; he salutes her, saying that if all women in Ireland were as plucky as she, the nation would have babies aplenty (for the Queen's army)

Notes

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) [was] leader of Catholic Association whose pressure led to the Catholic Emancipation Act, 1829.

"Tinker," in this context, means one of the travelling people, rather than a worker in tin. Fowke notes drily that this aspect of O'Connell's long career "seems to have been overlooked by his biographers." - PJS

I wonder if this might not be confused with the life of another Irish hero, Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), whose career was blighted by sex scandals. Given that the only surviving version of this song seems to be O. J. Abbott's, such a thing is possible.

There is severe irony in O'Connell urging that Ireland breed up more people; his last major speech, in 1847, was on the disaster of the potato famine -- which of course was so deadly only because Ireland had more people than it could reasonably support.

There is another Canadian Daniel O'Connell song, a fragment collected by Creighton. It perhaps reveals how many Irish left Ireland after the famines that both songs are found only outside Ireland. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Roud #2313
  2. BI, RcDanOco