“Groves of Blarney”

Author: probably Richard Alfred Milliken (1767-1816) (see Notes)
Earliest date: 1800 (1798-1799 probable date written, printed copies in Cork by 1800, according to Croker-PopularSongs)
Keywords: nonballad lyric


"The groves of Blarney they are so charming." The flowers, "grand walks," "the stone" and statues are described. No commander can compare with Lady Jeffers. If the singer were a poet like Homer "in every feature that I'd make it shine"


_Irish Minstrelsy_ by H. Halliday Sparling (London, 1888), pp. 437-438, 505, "The Groves of Blarney" makes the attribution to Milliken. [_Granger's Index to Poetry_ accepts this identification, but notes at least one version with an additional stanza by Francis Sylvester Mahony, for whom see "Bells of Shandon"; the attribution in _Granger's_ appears to be based on Hoagland. She adds that "Millikin at a party declared he could write a piece of absurdity which would surpass 'Castle Hyde....' The Groves of Blarney was the result...." Other poems by Millikin in this index include "The Groves of Blackpool" and "The River Lee." - RBW].

Croker-PopularSongs, quoting the memoir prefixed to _Poetical Fragments of the late Richard Alfred Millikin_[1823]: "During the Rebellion, several verses were, in the heat of party [Croker: an electioneering dinner], added to this song, particularly those alluding to the mean descent of a certain noble lord [Croker: Lord Domoughmore (then Lord Hutchinson)]; but they were not the production of the original author, who, incapable of scurrility or personal enmity to those with whom he differed in opinion, scorned such puerile malice." Croker makes the added verse "'Tis there's the kitchen hangs many a flitch in ... All blood relations to my Lord Donoughmore"; Croker notes that, in _The Reliques of Father Prout_ [Rev Francis Sylvester Mahony (1804-1866)] that verse is replaced by "There is a stone there, that whoever kisses ...." "may clamber to a lady's chamber, Or become a member of parliament....

The Jeffrey/Jeffers/Jeffares family were Protestants granted lands previously owned by Catholic Irish. In County Cork they took over Blarney Castle (source: The Jeffrey Family site). Kissing the Blarney Stone, on the top story of the castle tower, is supposed to give the gift of eloquence.

Broadside LOCSinging sb10145b: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Cross references



  1. O'Conor, p. 33, "Groves of Blarney" (1 text)
  2. Croker-PopularSongs, pp. 137-144, "The Groves of Blarney" (1 text)
  3. ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 362-365, "The Groves of Blarney" (1 text)
  4. Donagh MacDonagh and Lennox Robinson, _The Oxford Book of Irish Verse_ (Oxford, 1958, 1979), pp. 28-30, "The Groves of Blarney" (1 text)
  5. BI, OCon033