Roddy McCorley barndance

Also known as Rodai Mac Corlai, Roddy McCorley’s, Roddy McCorley’s March, Sean South, Sean South From Garryowen, Sean South Of Garryowen.

There are 10 recordings of a tune by this name.

Roddy McCorley has been added to 126 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Roddy McCorley
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
(GA) | B2 (AB) D2 D2 | B3 A G2 D2 | E2 G2 G3 A | G6 (Bc) |
d2 d2 d2 (Bd) | e2 e2 d2 (BA) | G2 E2 c2 B2 | A6 (Bc) |
d2 d2 d2 (Bd) | e2 e2 d2 (BA) | G2 E2 c2 B2 | A6 (GA) |
B2 AB D2 D2 | B3 A G2 D2 | E2 G2 G3 A | G6 |]
ABC

Thirteen comments

Roddy McCorley

This tune is not a Barn Dance but is a March. Someone on the Discussion area enquired about the music for Sean South of Garryowen and this is in fact the same melody. Both these songs have been popular in folk circles and words can easily be found using Google for anyone so inclined.

“Roddy McCorley” ~ also played in the keys of A & D

‘Barndance’ is a good category for 4/4 marches, also because the forms share similar dances… I was surprised this old standard wasn’t already here.

“Roddy McCorley’s March” ~ & song ~ one set of lyrics:

Oh see the host of fleet-footed men who speed with faces wan,
From farmstead and from fishers-cot along the banks of Bann.
They come with vengeance in their eyes but too late, too late are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today.

When last he stepped up that street, his shining pike in hand,
Behind him marched in grim array a stalwart earnest band.
For Antrim town, for Antrim town, he lead them to the fray,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow streets he steps, smiling proud and young.
About the hemp rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung.
There was never a tear in his blue eyes, both sad and bright are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today.

Pat Clancy’s, “The Clancy Brothers”, lyrics:

Oh, see the fleet foot hosts of men who speed with faces wan
From farm stead and from thresher’s cot along the banks of Ban.
They come with vengeance in their eyes, too late, too late are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today!

Up the narrow street he stepped, smiling and proud and young.
About the hemp rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung.
There’s never a tear in his blue eyes, both glad and bright are they,
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today!

When he last stepped up that street his shining pike in hand
Behind him marched in grim array a stalwart earnest band.
For Antrim Town! For Antrim Town! He led them to the fray,
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today!

There’s never a one of all who die more bravely fell in fray
Than he who marches to his fate on the Bridge of Toome today.
True to the last, true to the last, he treads the upward way
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today!
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the Bridge of Toome today!

Shane MacGowan’s lyrics:

When he stepped up the narrow street, smiling proud and young,
Around the hemp, around his neck, the golden ringlets clung.
There was never a tear in his blue eyes but sad and bright were they,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die On the bridge of Tuam today.

When he last stepped up that street, shining steel in hand,
Behind him marched in gray array A stalwart earnest band.
For Antrim town, for Antrim town He lept into the fray,
Now young Roddy McCorley goes to die On the bridge of Tuam today.

See the host of fleet-foot men dismayed with faces wan,
From Verners house and fishers cut along the banks of Bann.
They come with vengence in their eyes too late, too late are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die On the bridge of Tuam today

Another take on the first set of verses given above:

1.) See the fleet-foot host of men, that speed with faces wan, ~

2.) Up the narrow street he steps smiling, proud and young, ~

3.) When he last stepped up that street, his shining pike in hand, ~

4.) There was never a one of all your dead, more bravely fell in fray,
Than he who marches to his fate on the bridge of Toome today.
True to the last, true to the last, he treads the upward way,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today…

“Roddy McCorley” ~ words by Ethna Carberry (!?)

O see the fleet-foot host of men, who march with faces drawn,
From farmstead and from fishers’ cot, along the banks of Ban;
They come with vengeance in their eyes. Too late! Too late are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Oh Ireland, Mother Ireland, you love them still the best
The fearless brave who fighting fall upon your hapless breast,
But never a one of all your dead more bravely fell in fray,
Than he who marches to his fate on the bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow street he stepped, so smiling, proud and young.
About the hemp-rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung;
There’s ne’er a tear in his blue eyes, fearless and brave are they,
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

When last this narrow street he trod, his shining pike in hand
Behind him marched, in grim array, a earnest stalwart band.
To Antrim town! To Antrim town, he led them to the fray,
But young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

The grey coat and its sash of green were brave and stainless then,
A banner flashed beneath the sun over the marching men;
The coat hath many a rent this noon, the sash is torn away,
And Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Oh, how his pike flashed in the sun! Then found a foeman’s heart,
Through furious fight, and heavy odds he bore a true man’s part
And many a red-coat bit the dust before his keen pike-play,
But Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

There’s never a one of all your dead more bravely died in fray
Than he who marches to his fate in Toomebridge town today;
True to the last! True to the last, he treads the upwards way,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

“Roddy McCorley” ~ one last long take, 6 verses:

His great-coat and his sash of green were clean and stainless then,
A banner flashed beneath the sun, unto the marching men.
His coat has many a rent this noon, his sash is torn away,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today

Oh see the host of fleet foot men who sped with faces wan,
From farmstead and from fisher’s cot along the banks of Bann.
They come with vengeance in their eyes too late too late are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

When last he stepped up that street , his shining pike in hand,
Behind him marched a grim array, a stalwart and earnest band.
For Antrim town! For Antrim Town! He led them to the fray,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow streets he steps, smiling proud and young,
About the hemp rope on his neck the golden ringlets clung.
There was never a tear in his blue eyes, both sad and bright are they,
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Oh Ireland, mother Ireland, you love them still the best,
Those fearless men who fighting fall upon your hapless breast.
There was never a one of all your dead more bravely fell in fray,
Then he who marches to his fate on the bridge of Toome today.

Because he loved his Motherland, because he loved the green,
He goes to meet a martyr’s fate with proud and joyous gleam.
True to the last true to the last he treads the upward way,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today…

Roddy McCorley / Rodai Mac Corlai ~ in context:

"Triskelle" ~ Vincent Peters
http://www.vincentpeters.nl/
http://www.vincentpeters.nl/triskelle/lyrics/roddymccorley01.php?index=080.010.060.050

"This traditional song refers to the hanging of Roddy McCorley on Good Friday 1799. There are a lot of uncertainties about the real Roddy McCorley, or Rodai Mac Corlai, so do not shoot us if we make a wrong turn somewhere in the story.

Roddy McCorley is generally known as a Protestant man, but chances are he was in fact Catholic. His membership of the, initially non-sectarian but later, exclusively Catholic Defenders supports this somewhat dissent opinion. Probably this confusion is caused because his Protestant mother remarried a Protestant man after the death of his Catholic father.
Undisputedly is the fact that Roddy McCorley’s took part in the United Irishmen Rebellion in 1798, disputed however is his role in this revolt. Some assume he was just one of the masses, while others attribute a higher ranking to him. Anyway, after the revolt it was impossible for the rebels to return home and many of them formed gangs. Roddy McCorley joined the Thomas Archer’s gang.

For about a year this gang of highwaymen prowled County Antrim until Roddy McCorley was betrayed. Probably a relative from his mother’s side tattled his hiding place to the English. Roddy McCorley stood trial and was sentenced to death.
Roddy McCorley was transported from Ballymena to Toomebridge and hung by his neck on the bridge over the River Bann, whereupon his body was dissected and buried in the Belfast to Derry road. Everybody travelling from Belfast to Derry had to walk over his body. Obviously his execution was a warning, although it is not clear whether the warning was meant to address rebels or robbers.

His remains were exhumed in 1857 and put to rest in an unmarked grave on a proper graveyard. Roddy’s body might be at rest, his memory is still alive as turned out with the opening of a new bridge over the River Bann in April 2004.
Sinn Féin suggested to name the bridge after Roddy McCorley and, because Roddy was a non-sectarian famous local, some Unionists supported this proposal. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) passed over this once in a lifetime opportunity to fulfil a Republican idea backed by Unionists and persisted on the neutral name Toome Bridge. Soon thereafter explosives were found near the bridge and Sinn Féin members erected signs naming the bridge after Rodai Mac Corlai. ~ "

This is the song that the drunken father sang in Angela`s ashes

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