Jack the Bachelor

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JACK THE BATCHELOR. Irish, March (2/4 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. There was a famous smuggler who lived n Rush, Ireland,-some say he was a pirate or even a 'robin hood' character-called Jack the Bachelor or Jack Field, whose real name was Jack Connors. Jack, originally from Wexford, was a romantic and swashbuckling character who was very popular in high society circles. He practiced his trade from a place known as Smugglers Cave, between Loughshinney and Skerries, north Dublin. Rush (from the Irish Gaelic Ros Eo, meaning 'headland of the yew trees') was notorious as a center for smuggling in the 18th century. Such was his reputation that the reference below (i.e. to Jack Field), from a period ballad, would be readily understood:

The lover may sigh
The courtier may lie
And Croesus his treasure amass,
All these joys are but vain
They are blended with pain
I'll stand behind Field and my glass.

Jack's cave is still said to contain treasure, and one tale has it that the hoard is guarded by a green serpent (despite the well-known fact that St. Patrick dispensed with species in Ireland long ago!). The cave, say some, extends all the way to Baldongan Castle.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. III), c. 1808; p. 67.

Recorded sources:

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