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MALL RUA (Red-Haired Moll). AKA and see "B'fhearr liomsa Ainnir gan Gúna," "Come Under My Dimity," "Ditherum Doodle," "Her Blue Eyes They Gleam and They Twinkle," "I'll Take a Glass with a Friend," "Jig an dá Thuistiún," "Late on a Saturday Night," "Moll Roe (1)," "Moll Roe in the Morning," "Munsterman's Flattery," "Night of the Fun (3) (The)," "One bumper at parting," "Though late was I plump." Irish, Slip Jig. E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'B. Breathnach (1985) reports that Clare folklore has it that Mall Rua (Mall Roe) killed "three or four" of her husbands. Mall (a variant of Molly or Mary) was red-haired, and thus the appellation rua, and was proprietress of Leimneach Castle in north Clare, an edifice which still stands. The 'castle' is actually a seventeenth-century mansion grafted onto a fifteenth-century tower. The mansion part was probably begun in 1639 when its owner, Conor O'Brien, married the famous Maire Ruadh, 'Red Mary', daughter of Sir Tirlogh McMahon. This was the second marriage for Mary, and it lasted some twelve years until, in 1651, Conor was killed by troops under Cromwell who had been sent to besiege Leamaneh. The story goes that when his body was brought home by his retainers, Mary refused to admit them, declaring "We need no dead men here." It seems she felt a live lord was the best protection for her and her infant son, and since the Cromwellian forces were in the ascendance, she betook herself to Limerick to find a husband among her former husband's foes. In this she was successful, and her next husband was a Cornet named John Cooper. Unfortunately for Cooper, he had occasion to disparage his matrimonial predecessor, Conor O'Brien, and Mary, furious at the slight, threw him out an upstairs window where he plummeted to his death. Cooper perhaps had some inkling as to her temper (and his peril), for other stories about Mary relate that she hung servants from the corbels of the castle-men by the neck and women by the hair. She kept a famous blind stallion who was so fierce that the grooms had to hide in specially constructed niches when they let him out of his stall. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh reports that she was the target of a curse due to her many offenses which foretold that she would "die roaring with her legs in the air". This damnation was fulfilled when she was thrown from her horse into a broken tree trunk. Mac Aoidh says he heard older people in Clare use this curse verbatim in a joking manner.
Alternate titles for the tune are many, often taken from songs written to it, such as Thomas Moore's "One bumper at parting." "I'll Take a Glass with a Friend" is the title found in O'Farrell's Pocket Companion for the Union Pipes (vol. 2, c. 1806), while "Late on a Saturday Night" is its name in cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman's mid-19th century music collection. "Come Under My Dimity" and "Moll Roe (1)" are two versions printed by William Bradbury Ryan (Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883), while George Petrie gives a 3/4 time setting in the song "B'fhearr liomsa Ainnir gan Gúna" ("I'd rather a maid without a dress" or "Maid without a Gown (A)").
Breathnach (1976) notes that other titles were taken from lines in songs sung to the air: "Her Blue eyes they gleam and they twinkle" (Allingham manuscript, p15) and "Moll Roe on the top of the castle" (Jimmie Ward, Miltown Malbay, County Clare). Thomas Moore set his song "One Bumper at Parting" to the "Moll Rua" air. Finally, notes Breathnach:
Sixty-four verses of "Táim in Arrears" are given by Finghin na Leamhna (Fionán Mac Coluim) in Amhráin na nGleann ["Songs of the Glen"] (1939). It is attributed to Uileog Ó Céirín, a poet who lived about a hundred and fifty years ago in the vicinity of Castleisland. It is set to "Siúd ort, a mháthair mo chéile" [lit., "Here's to you, mother-in-law"] (SP, 1460 and 1486); the name is a line from the song itself. Another song about Moll Roe, sung to the tune Courting in the Kitchen, is in Ceol, ii, p49.