A lively session tune. One of the first I learnt.
Played by Sean Keane
On one of his solo albums, can’t remember which one…
I came across this snippet of information whilst reading "Goodbye to All That", autobiography of the poet, Robert Graves.
Graves had an Irish connection and his parents first met in Limerick in the 1890s.
RG’s father, also a poet, had written the words of the song Father O’Flynn which he put to the traditional jig tune The Top of Cork Road, which he remembered from his boyhood.
Sir Charles Stanford supplied a few chords for the setting of the song.
Graves’s father sold the complete rights of the song for one guinea (one pound and one shilling). Boosey, the publisher, made thousands and Sir Charles Stanford, who drew a royalty as the composer, also collected a very large sum.
isnt farther o flyn the name of the priest in joyces dubliners in the sotry the sisters
The Top of Cork Road before the words were added. An excellent double jig to play for solo dancers.
Just came across the lyrics here for this jig.
Lyrics - a Transcription
Reckon that this priest must have been the inspiration for "Father Ted"
… and here is a transcription:
Instructions for use:
1) Print out the lyrics below.
2) Put hardcopy in your instrument case.
3) The next time you are at a session where the tune is played, sing along with it …
Of priests we can offer a charmin’ variety,
Far renown’d for learnin’ and piety;
Still, I’d advance ye widout impropriety,
Father O’Flynn as the flow’r of them all.
cho: Here’s a health to you, Father O’Flynn,
Slainte and slainte and slainte agin;
Pow’rfulest preacher, and tenderest teacher,
And kindliest creature in ould Donegal.
Don’t talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
Famous forever at Greek and Latinity,
Dad and the divils and all at Divinity
Father O’Flynn ‘d make hares of them all!
Come, I venture to give ye my word,
Never the likes of his logic was heard,
Down from mythology into thayology,
Truth! and conchology if he’d the call.
Och Father O’Flynn, you’ve a wonderful way wid you,
All ould sinners are wishful to pray wid you,
All the young childer are wild for to play wid you,
You’ve such a way wid you, Father avick.
Still for all you’ve so gentle a soul,
Gad, you’ve your flock in the grandest control,
Checking the crazy ones, coaxin’ onaisy ones,
Lifting the lazy ones on wid the stick.
And tho quite avoidin’ all foolish frivolity;
Still at all seasons of innocent jollity,
Where was the playboy could claim an equality,
At comicality, Father, wid you?
Once the Bishop looked grave at your jest,
Till this remark set him off wid the rest:
"Is it lave gaiety all to the laity?
Cannot the clergy be Irishmen, too?"
Father O´Flynn - in Latin…
Those of you who, like myself, were taught Latin by the Christian Brothers a lifetime ago will love this version. I scanned it from an old song-book, the title of which I can’t recall just now. (Alas, I loaned out the book to a friend over 10 years ago and still await it’s return!), I love that inspired "Donegalissime" bit in the chorus!
[Latin translation of A.P.Grave’s famous song "Father O’Flynn".
The translation was done by Father Alexius Quinlan of Mount Melleray, Co.Waterford. It is worthy of "Prout" and deserves a place in any good collection of Irish songs, as the work, well done, of an Irish monk.]
O clerici adsunt diversis littoribus,
Omnes qui semper insignes sunt moribus,
Quisque verrissimus suis coloribus?
FLYNNIUS ombibus verior stat:
Radice Hibernica gaudet O’FLYNN,
Ut ombibus patet per suum nomen,
Ex quo in minoribus parochiabilus
Multos ad annos carissime FLYNN,
Omni virtute doctissime in
Orator optime, doctor mitissime,
Donegalissime, PATER O’FLYNN.
Trinitat’s Collegii sapientissimi,
Latinam, Graecamque loquuntur satissime,
Locquaculi omnes, sed omnes citissime
In infimum saccum detrudit O’FLYNN.
Dei immortales mirantes laudant
Logicam FLYNNICAM et aestimant.
Res mythologicas et concholigicas
Victas omnino a PATER O’FLYNN.
O PATER O’FLYNN habes baculum magicum,
Quo opus facis omnino mirificum,
Ebriis pigris, superbus remedium
Dabitur optimum hoc baculo.
Quare in tota parochia FLYNN,
Ne unus quidem pecator est in;:
Nec feminae garriunt, viri nec titubant,
Obtiner timor in hoc loculo.
Olim Episcopus valde turbatus est,
In verba FLYNNICA multum mirantus est,
Magna molestia ipse captatus est
Donec hoc modo respondit O’FLYNN,
"Num soli laici hilares sint,
Clericine perlaeti videri debent?"
Oportet clericum esse Hibernicum
Tum in dolore, tum gaudis in.
X: 2 “Top of Cork Road” ~ Donegal
B: "Dances of Donegal", collected by Grace Orpen, D.M. Wilkie, London, 1931
The first few pages of this book, and its first tune & dance:
"The Fairy Dance" - https://thesession.org/tunes/424
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(page 27 - music notation & dance description)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Military Two-Step (Couple Dance)
Tune: "Top of Cork Road" (6/8)
Steps - - - - - - - - - Description - - - - - - - - - Bars
Partners stand holding inside hands and begin with the inner foot.
Advance forward three steps, stamping on the 1st beat and lifting the outer leg forward with a straight knee on the 2nd beat of the 2nd bar.
Retire backward four steps,stamping on the 4th step. - - - 4
Partners drop hands and step away from each other on to outer feet, close up inner feet and step again on outher feet.
Repeat towards partner.
The 2nd and 3rd steps are in double time, the stamp is on the 1st beat.
Partners turn about, the man to his left (ACW) and the woman ot her right (CW) with four steps (in LOD=ACW), ending holding in waltz grip, with man’s left shoulder leading. - - - 4
Step forward, man on left, woman on right foot.
Step on other foot, closing feet together. Repeat.
Change direction and repeat with the other foot leading. - - - 4
Turn partner with the same step in double time. - - - 4
<[ NOTES: This description also fits a similar dance in waltz time, M: 3/4. I’m also familiar with several different dances also called "The Military Two-Step", including from Ulster and Donegal. ]>
“Dances of Donegal” collected and edited by Grace Orpen, 1931 - ITMA digital copy
ITMA: Irish Traditional Music Archive/Taisce Cheol DÚchais Éireann
Grace Orpen’s Local Donegal Dances, 1931
"Dances of Donegal" collected and edited by Grace Orpen, 1931
Click on ‘32 Pages’ to view them, with Grace Orpen’s ‘Figures’/illustrations…
the second version listed above is the more common version played here in Ireland with the following change ;
2nd part 2nd bar ; ECA ABC
Father O’Flynn, X:3
Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK.
Re: Father O’Flynn
This tune is also used in the Scottish Students Songbook (late 19th C?) for the song "Lasses
of Scotland" which hails Scottish lasses in all their variety (eg their locks whether raven or
carrotty). This book often turns up in 2nd hand book or charity shops in Scotland. The
tune is credited as "Top of the Cork Road". Very singable.
Father O’Flynn, X:4
Version of tune used for song "Lasses of Scotland".