Sweet Cootehill Town

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X:1 T:Sweet Cootehill Town M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow and with expression" B:P.W. Joyce – Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Emin B/A/|GF EE/F/ GG AG/A/|BB B/A/ G/A/ BD D2 B/A/|G F/>E/ E>F| G>B AG/A/|Be d/B/ A/B/ GE E||B/c/|d>e dB/d/ e/d/ B/c/ d e/d/| cB AG/A/|BD DB/A/|G F/>E/ E E/F/ G>B AG/A/|Be d/B/ A/B/ GE E||



SWEET COOTEHILL TOWN. AKA and see "Peacock (1) (The)." Irish, Air (4/4 time, "slow and with expresseion"). Ireland, Munster. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "This song comes from Cootehill in the County Cavan. How it got to Limerick, where I heard it, is more than I can tell; and indeed I know nothing whatever about it save that I learned it when a mere child from the inimitable singing of Dave Dwane of Glenosheen, the best local singer we had. I heard him sing it for the last time at an 'American Wake,' i.e. a meeting of friends on the evening before the departure of several young people for America, as a farewell celebration. The song was very suitable for the occasion: and poor Dave who was himself going away with the others sang it with such intense feeling and power, that the whole company men, women, and children were in tears. That is now more than sixty years ago; and to this hour I find it hard to restrain tears when I recall the scene. The air belongs I think to Munster; for I heard it played and sung everywhere, and quite often with other words besides 'Sweet Cootehill Town'. It is sometimes called 'The Peacock', which is certainly not its original name. Versions of it have been published in Smith's Vocal Melodies of Ireland and elsewhere. In Cork and Limerick the people often sang to it Burns's song, 'Adieu, a heart warm fond adieu,' so that it was commonly known by the name of 'Burns's Farewell'. Mr. Patrick O'Leary of Graignamanagh an excellent authority on the folk music and song of that neighbourhood has informed me that, in his part of the country Kilkenny and Carlow this song is usually sung at the little gatherings of friends on the evening before the departure of emigrants for America: as I heard it sung in Limerick. The air seems to have been used indeed as a general farewell tune, so that from the words of another song of the same class it is often called 'Good Night and Joy Be With You All'. The Cootehill words are now published for the first time. The last verse presents a pleasing picture: but alas, how seldom we see it realised!" (Joyce, 1909).

Now fare you well, sweet Cootehill town,
The place where I was born and bred’
Thro’ shady groves and flowery hills,
My youthful fancy did serenade.
But now I’m bound for Amerikay,
A country that I never saw,
Those pleasant scenes I’ll always mind,
When I am roving far awa.

Joyce above refers to the song "Good Night and Joy be with you all", which is better-known nowadays as "Parting Glass (2) (The)," which is usually sung to the same melody as "Sweet Cootehill Town."


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 384, pp. 191-192.






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