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Tinkerman's Daughter

(Composed M. McConnell – published Elm Grove Music)

(From Loosely Connected 1992 Greentrax Records 052 - 1995 Green Linnet Records CD3094)

Given to me by Micky McConnell’s brother, Cathal, one April evening in Edinburgh and the Folk Festival there in the early ‘80s – it was a great night and a brilliant festival! Micky recorded The Tinkerman’s Daughter on his album ‘Peter Pan and Me’. He tells me he borrowed the story from the late Siegerson Clifford’s poem ‘The Ballad of the Tinker’s Daughter’ which can be found in one the book ‘Ballads of a Bogman’ Siegerson Clifford (Mercier Press)

The small birds were lining the bleak Autumn branches
Preparing to fly to a far sunny shore
When the tinkers made camp at the bend on the river
Coming back from the horse fair at Ballinasloe
Now the harvest being over the farmer went walking
All along the fair river that borders his land
And it’s there he first saw her twixt firelight and water
The tinkerman’s daughter, the red headed Anne

Next morning he rose from a night without slumber
He went straight to the father and he made his case known
And at a pub in Listowel they struck out a bargain
For the tinker, a pony, to the daughter a home
Where the trees cast their shadows along the Fael River
The tinker and the farmer inspected the land
And a wild gallant pony was the price they agreed on
For the tinkerman’s daughter, the red headed Anne

Now the wedding soon over the tinkers departed
They were eager to travel on south down the road
But the crunch of the iron-shod wheels on the gravel
Was as bitter to her as the way she’d been sold
But she tried hard to please him, she did all his bidding
She slept in his bed and she worked on his land
But the walls of that cabin pressed tighter and tighter
Round the tinkerman’s daughter, the red headed Anne

Now as white as the hands of a priest or a hangman
The snow spread its blanket the next winter round
And the tinkerman’s daughter got out from the bedside
Turned her back to the land and her face to the town
And it’s said someone saw her at dusk that same evening
She was making her way down by Ladhairaghcrumpán (Lyracrumpawn)
And that was the last that the settle-folk saw her
The tinkerman’s daughter, the red headed Anne

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