Chalk Sunday

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CHALK SUNDAY. AKA and see "Johnny Dennehy's," "Pretty Jane," "Tom Billy's Jig (3)," "White Pony (The)." Irish, Jig and Air. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "From Davy Condon, thatcher, of Ballyorgan, 1844. Chalk Sunday was the Sunday after Shrove Tuesday, when those young men who should have been married, but were not, were marked with a heavy streak of chalk on the back of the 'Sunday coat,' by boys who carried bits of cholk in their pockets for that purpose, and lay in wait for the bachelors. The marking was done while the congregation were assembling for Mass: and the young fellow ran for his life, always laughing, and often singing the concluding words of some suitable doggeral such as:--"And you are not married though Lent has come!" This custom prevailed in some parts of Limerick, where I saw it in full play: but I think it has died out" (Joyce). The tune corresponds to the first two parts of "Dublin Jig (3)" (Bayard, 1981; No. 517, p. 466). The melody appears as one of "The Farranfore Jigs" by the group Shegui (with John Skelton) on their album "Around the World for Sport" (1980), whose source was given as Sliabh Luachra fiddlers Tom Billy (Murphy) and Jack Dennehy (sic) {Dennehy's home was Farranfore, County Kerry}. O'Neill calls the tune "Pretty Jane" and it appears in Levey's (1973) second collection under the title "The White Pony." See also "Johnny Dennehy's."

Printed source: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 19, pp. 12-13.


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