More about Boolavogue

The lyrics to Boolavogue were written by Patrick Joseph (PJ) McCall and set to the Irish air Eochaill, or Youghal Harbour.

There are many versions of this well-loved song on the net. Probably the best-known is the one I heard first, by the Dubliners. The Dubs cut the original song slightly and introduced a riff still used by some other musicians.

1798 memorial, The Harrow

1798 memorial, The Harrow

I also like Brian Roebuck’s take on Boolavogue. Here’s one with a slideshow, and another slideshow. He sings the long version. Less Dubliners-like are the High Kings (with some odd slide editing). There are many other Boolavogues on YouTube.* A word of warning – some of the comments below the clips contain strong language.

PJ McCall wrote many other songs, two of which, The Boys of Wexford and Kelly the Boy from Killane, are also about 1798.

McCall based his song on a much older one, Come All You Warriors, written soon after 1798. Interestingly, Joseph Holt, the Wicklow rebel leader who Biddy Dolan may have had an affair with, mentions the song in his 1837 Memoirs.

Youghal Harbour is a tune many Australians may recognise, as it’s also used for Moreton Bay, written by Irish convict and poet Frank McNamara. Some lines from this song are relevant for Nicholas Delaney, too:

I am a native from Erin’s island
But banished now from my native shore.

* This is possibly the most unusual Boolavogue on the net. I think it’s great!



 © Frances Owen and A Rebel Hand, 2010-2014

About rebelhand

A Rebel Hand is: about Nicholas Delaney, Irish rebel of 1798, transported as a convict to New South Wales, roadbuilder, innkeeper and farmer. My great-great-great grandfather. Other ancestors transported to Australia, like Sarah Marshall, John Simpson and James Thomas Richards, pop up as well. This blog's also about the historical background to their lives, in England, Ireland, and Australia. My respectable Welsh ancestors sometimes get a look in.
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