Kelly the Boy from Kilane

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KELLY THE BOY FROM KILANE. Irish, Air (4/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. John Moulden identifies this song as written by a Dublin City Councillor and Patrick Street publican, Patrick Joseph McCall (1861-1919), a prolific songwriter of mostly patriotic ballads whose ballad sheet collection is in the National Library of Ireland. Moulden states his style of writing was informed by ballad sheets and therefore is missing from "polite" anthologies. John Kelly was a merchant's son from Kilane, County Wexford, and a man of impressive size, seven feet or more. He participated in the rising of 1798, fighting under the command of Bagnal Harvey, one of the Protestant leaders of the rebellion. Kelly led the men from the Wexford areas of Bargy, Forth, Shelmalier and the Barony of Bantry in Harvey's attack on the town of New Ross. The United Irishman captured the town, rested, and lost it again and several hundred croppies were lost in the battle. Kelly was badly wounded in the engagement and was captured at his sister's house where he was recovering. Subsequently he was tried at a court-martial and convicted; a story goes it was on the evidence of a Yeoman sergeant, a neighbor whose life he had saved some days before. He was hanged on Wexford bridge, his trunk thrown into the water and his head spiked over the courthouse to rot after being kicked about. Kelly's head was eventually recovered by friends who brought it to Killane, where, much later a monument to his memory was erected.

What's the news, what's the news, my bold Shelmalier
With your long barrell'd gun of the sea,
Say, what wind from the sun blows his messenger here,
With a hymn of the dawn for the free;
Goodly news, goodly news do I bring your of Forth,
Goodly news you shall hear Bargy men,
For the boys march at dawn from the south to the north,
Led by Kelly the boy from Killane.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 3), 1927; No. 36, p. 10.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]




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