Galbally Farmer (The)
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GALBALLY FARMER, THE. AKA and see "Barndoor Jig (The)," "Old Barndoor (The)," "Caitin Ban (An)," "Cranbally Farmer (The)," "Darby O'Leary," "Fágamaíd Súd Mar Atá Sé" (Let us leave that as it is), "Get Up Early," "Let us leave that as it is," "Limerick Rake (The)," "Rakes of Kildare," "'Twas on the First of May Brave Boys." Irish, Air and Jig. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'B (Mitchell): AABB (Joyce, Roche): AABB' (Mulvihill). Martin Mulvihill gives that this tune was used as a accompaniment for the dance The Haymakers' Jig. Collector P.W. Joyce knew the song (as "The Spalpeen's Complaint to the Galbally Farmer") from his boyhood in County Limerick, c. 1850, and identified the farmer of the song was well-known in his district as being a skinflint. The song ridiculed him and was quite popular—in some versions he is identified by name as Darby O'Leary ("The Spaleen's Complaint of Darby O'Leary"). Spalpeens (spailpín), explains Joyce, were laborers "who travelled about in the autumn seeking employment from the farmers, each with his spade, or his scythe, or his reaping-hook. They congregated in the towns on market and fair days, where the farmers of the surrounding districts came to hire them. Each farmer brought home his own men, fed them on good potatoes and milk, and put them to sleep in the barn on dry straw—a bed—as one of them said to me—'a bed fit for a lord, let alone a spalpeen." Words to the song are attributed to Diarmuid O Riain (1777-1885, see Cahill, Gather Round Me: The Best of Irish Popular Poetry), and begin:
One evening of late as I happened to stray,
To the county Tipp'rary I straight took my way,
To dig the potatoes and work by the day,
I hired with a Galbally farmer.
I asked him how far we were bound for to go.
The night it was dark, and the north wind did blow.
I was hungry and tired and my spirits were low,
For I got neither whiskey nor cordial.
Source for notated version: piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell].
Printed sources: Henebry (A Handbook of Irish Music), 1928; pp. 187-189, Nos. 42 & 44. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Song), 1909; No. 406 ("The Spalpeen's Complaint of the Cranbally Farmer"). Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 141, p. 112. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 44, p. 128. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1914; No. 87, p. 39 and vol. 3, No. 103.