Duncormick Mummer's Jig

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DUNCORMICK MUMMERS' JIG. Irish, Single Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Duncormick is a village in the Barony of Bargy, Co. Wexford. An account of the Rathangan, Duncormick, mummers appears in the Dublin and London Magazine (vol. 1, No. 10, Dec. 1825, p. 447) written by one Mon Stafford, remembering the appearance of the mummers in his youth, some forty years prior. It reads, in part:

My father's house was the first they usually visited; and, on this occasion, the ould black oak table 'groaned with the weight of the feast'. Whiskey flowed in goblets brimming full, and the rich ales sparkled even through the opacity of the earthen bowls. But eating and drinking gave me little care; my time was always sufficiently occupied in laughing at the wit of Darby and Joan...(The Twelve Days of Christmas) was devoted to mumming, hurling and dancing. Every door stood open, and every table was covered with abundance."

Patrick J. McCall (co-author of the Feis Ceóil Collection) wrote a song/poem called "The Mummers of Bargy" (set to the air "Droghedy's March") describing the mummers visit:

Down at the big manor house at Kilquaun,
Assemble the girls and the boys all of Bargy--
Wondr'ous this night in the barn and the bawn,
To hear Billeen Ceól with his pipes sweetly "arguy"!
Aiden Roche, the mummer leader
Came with a boy o' the Neils of Sleedhair:
Dick Shones Phoor is George the Valiant,
Charlie Hayes, St. Patrick gallant--
Oh, such a crowd of the girls is collected,
'Twill be a surprise if there's no one neglected!
They line all the walls like a headland of lilies,
Or rosies, or posies, or daffy-down-dillies!

The center is clear, the candles alight,
When lo, from the haggard there comes a loud knocking;
Soon quickly troop in twelve mummers in white,
With feathers high flying, like wild geese a-flocking.
Round they go, two circles forming,
Billeen the "Soldier's Joy," performing.
Heels keep cracking, clubs a-crashing,
Arms a-swinging, eyes a-flashing.
In and out, round about, back to their places,
fencing and foiling, the crowd interlaces;
Now all uncoil in a single file canter,
Yet striking and chiming to Billeen's old chanter.

The war dance of "Droghedy's March" fast they play;
Then the quick, single jig, "Nance Wants Her Answer,"
"The Geese in the Bog" and the grand "First o' May,"
"The Flowers," and a Reel, for their favourite dancer;
Then the mummer's play commences,
When St. George so bold advances,
Tells of "draggins, elves, and jyants"
He has killed, and hurls defiance;
Till our St. Patrick, with green on his bonnet,
Appears on the scene, when his glove is thrown on it.
Oh! the saints fight, spite of their holy station,
And Patrick upholds the fair fame of his nation.

In comes a dochtor, "so pure and so good,"
To heal the deep wounds of the saintly contender,
Twenty gold guineas he wants to stop blood,
St. Pat is charoosed with the quacky pretender.
Cromwell stalks, with nose of scarlet,
He calls Caesar great a varlet;
Dan O'Connell greets Napoleon--
E'en a poocha here has stolen,
Everyone, as he comes, 'spachifies" neatly,
And shows off his skill and his prowess completely;
But they all make it up, just as it ought to be,
And, joining hands in a ring, the dance "Droghedy."

But, as this night is the last of such fun--
Twelfth Day is nigh, and the days getting light-some--
So the grand rinka of all is begun,
And for it the cailins dress beauteous and brightsome.
Aiden Roche takes Alley Kelly,
Dick Shones Phoor, Johanna Skelly,
Charlie, Anty, Mogue, young Sheela,
Thus they mingle, three-na-cheela,
Heel and toe, off they go, tripping and skipping,
Till daylight right over their shoulders in peeping.
The girls all make it home at the top o' the morning,
But talk for a year of it, milking and churning!''..........[Irish Nóiníns (Daisies), 1894]

Source for notated version: flutist and farm laborer John Ferguson (Rathangan, Co. Wexford) [Darley & McCall].

Printed sources: Daley & McCall (Feis Ceóil Collection of Irish Airs), 1914; No. 73, p. 33.

Recorded sources:




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