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Music of the Moorlands


CD's cost €12 (this includes P&P)
and can be ordered from
The Glen
Co Kerry
Tel 00 353 (0) 68 48353

 Songs and Scenes of North Kerry


This DVD and CD has a lot of Lyre connections and interest.  It was produced by Lyreacrompane natives Kay O'Leary and Joe Harrington.  It includes the Dan Paddy Andy Festival song written by Joe Harrington and the 'Ploughman from Aulane' by the late John Joe Sheehy, also, from Lyre.  Two of the singers, Caroline O'Callaghan and Karen Trench are Lyreacrompane natives and some of the lovely North Kerry scenery was shot in the Lyre district.

The Land of Dan Paddy Andy CD


Dan Paddy Andy's Dance Hall at Renagown Cross painted from memory
by John P O'Flynn, RIP  (Bradford & Tipperary) in 1997

Echoes of Lyreacrompane CD


You may also wish to check out the DVDs available
on our other website

Lyrics of Lyre Songs

Pat Brosnan – Another scribe from Lyre

The places round about here are seen by those outside
As too far up the boreen to take note.
Cloughboola, Carrigcannon and wild Dromaddamore,
Are not the subject for some famous poet

But from such little boreens came one with pen to write
About how we lived going back to olden times
And there was plenty to record of people and of place
He told it well in song and prose and rhymes

His name was Patrick Brosnan; another scribe from Lyre
His sharp eye well observing all around
The simple ways of life he saw that carried people through
In times when luxury did not abound.

He wrote about the little shops; he wrote of Connie’s forge
A meeting point for people round about
Like Paddy Andy’s dancehall at the cross at Renagown
Where he danced a step or two I have no doubt.

Pat told us of the card games around the winter’s fire
And the stories told to frighten or amuse
And listening to Micheál O’Heir on the old Pye radio
Cheering Kerry on no matter, win or lose

And Patrick played a leading part with Joe “The Kerryman” Quill
To organise the Gaelic games at home
Carrig Sarsfields and St Marys and Smearlagh Rangers too
And Pat himself lined out with Boola Tones

He knew the pain of exile and the joy of coming back
He told about it in “An Exiles Dream”
And Knochnagorna was his home when Derby’s work was done
But he oft recalled Dromadda’s lovely stream.

His stories and his local notes, his records of things past
Will inform generations down the way
And we will sing the songs that Patrick Brosnan wrote
And remember him for many a long, long day.

Joe Harrington February 2015


The Champions, Duagh

Stand there ‘till I tell you a tale of true heroes
Who come from a parish that we call our own
From the hills of Glenruddery right down to the lowlands
Where the Feale glides on by with its murmuring tone
For fifty long years we have waited for victory
To raise up our flags and to shout hip hurragh
For way too much water has run down the Smearlagh
But now we have reason to cheer for Duagh.

Our plan of campaign; it was ever a clear one
Said the bould Martin Leane now the time it is right.
As he urged every one of Duagh’s GAA club
To think of the Mall and to stand up and fight.
Our mission was clear then, we’ll take on North Kerry
We’re giving no quarter and we’ll never shirk
And the man on the field who will lead us to glory
The one we call Captain, the great Kieran Quirke.

We’ll shoulder, we’ll cheer them
For none can get near them
We’ll boast of their deeds
And we’ll shout hip hurrah.
We’re proud for to know them
And honour we’ll show them,
Those men who brought victory
The champions, Duagh

Opponents were plenty, they tumbled before us
The championship final we had in our view
And there we met up with the lads by the Shannon
The Beale men were ready to die or to do
It was man against man, with no quarter given
The struggle was dower and the outcome looked grim
When up stepped Ant Maher and not for the first time
And the draw that was earned did owe much to him

In 2013 on the 6th day of January,
A date we will treasure and talk of for years
In Listowel’s Sheehy Park, Duagh won the replay
Giving every supporter good reason for cheers
The hoodoo was broken and the long wait was over
And the feat of our heroes we long will admire
And the rafters will ring and the bonfires will burn
Around the valleys and hills from Duagh up to Lyre
We’ll shoulder, we’ll cheer them
For none can get near them
We’ll boast of their deeds
And we’ll shout hip hurrah.
We’re proud for to know them
And honour we’ll show them,
Those men who brought victory
The champions, Duagh

I’ll name you the lads who have brought us such glory
Nan Maher and Kieran we’ve mentioned before
In the red gap of danger our keeper Jer Kelly
His feats will forever be part of folklore
The rock John O’Brien with Terry and Aaron
Put paid to full many a strong Beale attack
Tim Scanlon and Diarmuid along with their captain
Completed the lineout that guarded the back.

A mention with pride we’ll give to brave Denny
And Peter and Maurice and Joey also
While Duffy and Scannell and Nigel O’Connor
With skill and with courage set all hearts aglow
Jason, Ed Stack, McCarthy and Moran
Stepped up to the mark when the chips they were down
And the secret was teamwork, commitment and workrate
And determination to bring home the crown.

We’ll shoulder, we’ll cheer them
For none can get near them
We’ll boast of their deeds
And we’ll shout hip hurrah.
We’re proud for to know them
And honour we’ll show them,
Those men who brought victory
The champions, Duagh

There was great strength in depth with the likes of Eoin Kelly
John Sherin, Tim Quirke and that young man, Chris Breen
O’Sullivan was solid and Scanlon was rugged
And Johnny O’Connor was tall on the scene.
John Curran along with the young Kieran Lucey
And the brothers McKenna were up for the fray
In the year when the mighty Duagh were the victors
A time we’ll remember for many a day

Our heroes are champions, we’ll never forget them
The maroon and the gold now forever will wave
And the youth of our parish will follow the footsteps
They made on their way through the land of the brave
The management team was a brilliant foundation
For Scanlon and Dillon and Stack paved the way
The name of John Halpin will proudly be mentioned
When we think of Duagh and that mighty display

We’ll shoulder, we’ll cheer them
For none can get near them
We’ll boast of their deeds
And we’ll shout hip hurrah.
We’re proud for to know them
And honour we’ll show them,
Those men who brought victory
The champions, Duagh

(Joe Harrington, January 2013)


My Home in Sweet Lyreacrompane

Far away from my homeland in Kerry
I've been for a number of years
Although I'm contented and happy
My memory it fondly adheres
To that dear little spot by the Smearia
Where I first saw the light of the dawn
And spent the sweet days of my childhood
In my home in sweet Lyreacrompane.

Oh dear Lyre I can never forget you
No matter how long I'm away
In my mind you're as fresh as a daisy.
Or the wind blowing in from the bay.
When Ireland was fighting for freedom
To her colours her true sons were drawn
And fought for the freedom of Ireland
And their homes in sweet Lyreacrompane.

The music and song at the crossroads
I can still hear so clearly today
As in fancy my mind often wanders
To those days that are long gone away.
There on the flag floor in the kitchen
We often danced until dawn
God be with the dear days of my childhood
In my home in sweet Lyreacrompane.

In dreams I am sometimes awakened
By the sound of the Smearlagh beyond
Where I often fished in its waters
And many fine salmon did land
Those days are now gone forever
All the wealth of the world I'd pawn
If I could only return as a gorsoon
To my home in sweet Lyreacrompane.

Paddy Faley (Glenbawn)

How I came to write” My Home in Sweet Lyreacrompane"

John (Jack) Molyneaux who was bred, born and reared in Lyreacrompane married and settled down in Killeaney, Glin where he lived happily with his wife.  Jack and I happened to work together from time to time. He had a great love for Lyreacrompane and the companions of his youth and very often related to me the events of his younger days there - so much so that I felt I had lived there myself.   I thought it would be a pity to let it get lost without recording it in song and as Lyreacrompane has such a poetic, musical sound it impelled me to compose 'My Home in Sweet Lyreacrompane'.  Jack told me that when he sang the song and when the people of Lyre heard it they found it hard to believe that the writer, who had never been in Lyreacrompane, could picture it so accurately.

The Peatlands Around Lyre.

As I look out from my homestead on this little mountain farm
The turf fire in my cosy cot spreads a glow so soft and warm
The sunbeams shimmer in the mist to melt the morning dew
And gives the heather on the hill its lovely golden hue.

The children on their way to school run down the Carrig road
And smoke arising to the sky marks every Lyre abode
Beyond the meadows by the stream my strong sons never tire
As they work to make a living in the peatlands around Lyre.

The carts from the old creamery are headed out for home
A friendly chat down at the gate before they onward roam
Above the woodlands on the moor I hear my barking dog
As he plays around the fire that boils the tea made in the bog.

And soon the children out of school will make the byways ring
And then the rooks will black the sky as homewards they will wing
The songbirds chirp a lullaby among the furze and briers
As daytime turns to twlight in the peatlands around Lyre.

The evening sends long shadows down the face of Been na Gaoihe
The cloak of darkness gently flows o’er valley, hill and lee
I sit here in my kitchen neat as time goes ticking on
I think about the rambling nights all filled with talk and song

But do I hear some distant talk along the Smearla shore?
Yes, there’s some friends from Maugha and wild Drommada More
I hear below the haggard the glasha singing sweet
Don’t mind the wind and rain outside come in and take a seat

You’re welcome friends and neighbours, draw in and sit you there
The tilly lamp is lighting and your company we’ll share
Pull up the sugán chairs around the blazing open fire
It’s burning well that turf we sleaned last summer up in Lyre

And by its side we’ll sit and let the conversation flow
About the happenings of the day and the time of long ago
Then touch the strings and let it rise, the music we admire
And take us back to how it was in the peatlands around Lyre.

Joe Harrington


O'er the hills to Lyre she rambled
Along the dusty road
In the wake of that old Blue Butt
Carrying all her load
She was tall and she was stately
The sort of pride you'd rare see lately
Had this woman of the tinker clan
Born of the Traveling People
She was known to n'er speak evil
Of the settled - woman, child or man.

At her heels her children followed
Along the dusty road
Played and clambered on that Blue Butt
Outside each abode
She was welcomed by each giver
Living by the Smearla River
A little longer they would make her stay
Valued for the news she's bringing
And her partner's skill at mending
Buckets, pots and cans of yesterday.

As I trace the route she wandered
Along the dusty road
I fancy that I see her campsite
Where the Glasha flowed
Barefoot 'tween the furze and briers
Picking sticks to light her fires
In the summer sun or winter snow
What I'd give to be off with her
From our times of grab and glitter
To the open roads of long ago
Travelling with Black Biddy grand and slow.

Joe Harrington 1997

(To the air of Kate of Baltimore. Composed and first published in 1949).

We think of happy days of yore
when in  life's youthful dream
We often played and wandered
by the silvery Smearla stream,
There were many comrades with us then
who have crossed the stormy tide,
Far away to roam from their native home
down by the Smearla side.

In green and pleasant meadows
there we used to make the hay,
And on Sundays after Mass
we went the Gaelic game to play.
Our exiled sons have wandered far
but in dreams they still abide,
With friends they knew
whose hearts were true
down by the Smearla side.

To the youth who still are left at home
this message we convey,
Be always true to Ireland lads
like our  fathers in their day,
When they joined with gallant comrades
and in youth and manhood's pride,
They fought and died for freedom's sake
down by the Smearla side.

To our exiles who have crossed the sea
this wish we send to you,
We hope you always will remain
to God and Ireland true,
It is our earnest prayer to-day
that your footsteps He may guide,
And bring you safely home again
to the lovely Smearla side.

The Day Paddy Andy Festival is Here.

When you hear the music rattling down the mountains and the glens
When the strains of fiddles playing reach Listowel
When the beating of the bodhran and the clatter of the drum
Paints visions of some distant craic and ceol
When roads are leading only to Stacks Mountains up above
And the signposts tell you Lyre is drawing near
And the gentle breezes blowing o'er the moorland seem to say
The Dan Paddy Andy Festival is here.

The Dan Paddy Andy Festivalonce again is here
For all the signs say it’s that time of year.
There'll be song and dancing
Old and young will be romancing
When the Dan Paddy Andy Festival is here

When you hear the laughter rising from the pub beside the road
And Roche’s Bar is crowded to the doors
Where some seanachai's relating the humour of the past
To the exiles who are back from foreign shores
And the songs and conversation intermingle in that place
And the house is fairly buzzing front to rear
And Albert's singing Raglan Road 'tis then you can be sure
The Dan Paddy Andy Festival is here

When you see a marquee rising in this rural setting fair
And the flags of many nations flying high
Where the crowds are gaily dancing on that famous sloping floor
And there's romance there for every girl and boy
You may talk about great dance halls like the famous Galtymore
And ballrooms of romance we hold so dear
The Marquee up in Lyre would surely beat them all
When the Dan Paddy Andy Festival is here.

And the hooley in the open air recalls the times gone by
Of crossroads dancing where our parents met
And the air is clear as crystal and the sun is beaming down
As they're rattling out a grand North Kerry set.
If it’s dancing that you're after and music you desire
Then up to Lyre a course you'll have to steer
When the summer days are with us you'll be welcome in the hills
When the Dan Paddy Andy Festival is here.

(Joe Harrington 2006)



In a pub in Limerick City
where the soft lights were aglow,
We joined in lively company
and the drink and talk did flow,
Then they asked me what my name was
and the place from whence I came,
And if I knew O'Sullivan
who bore a triple name.

Oh yes! I said, I knew him sure
and the home where he did dwell,
Within a stone-throw of our school
which I remember well,
It was there we learned about life
in the land of Renagown,
Dan Paddy Andy's native place
that man of great renown.

I related how we often danced
within his famous hall,
With accordion music ringing out
our young hearts to enthral,
The Siege of Ennis and the waltz,
the reel and the polka set,
In the happy springtime of our youth,
the times we won't forget.

I told them of the concerts there
and many a travelling show,
Who performed at Dan Paddy's
in the days of long ago,
And of the morning pictures there
when every seat was filled,
In that hall beside the crossroads
which my father helped to build.

And also how the colleens
came from hill and vale and glen,
To trip the light fantastic
with the sturdy mountain men,
A hush came o'er the company
and a stranger shook my hand,
When I told them how my brother Dan
was the dance hall's one man band.

In a pub in Carrigcannon,
the Four Elms is its name,
We sat beside the turf-fire
and recalled that hall of fame,
An old man spoke with broken voice,
saying: "May God be with you Dan,
And the neighbours all who knew you,
as a legend and a man."


Where the hills of North Kerry
Rise up from the Feale
In the land where the Stacks Mountains stand
Where the streams from the moorlands
Forever run down
To the Banks of the Smearlagh so grand
Where the Glash-o-reagh river
Still winds its old way
And the silver Shannow runs so free
It is there you will find her
The girl of my heart
And I call her My Catherine, Mo Croí.


She lives by the Smearlagh
That river so fine
And whatever the future may be
I always will treasure
The love that I share
With that cailín, My Catherine, Mo Croí.

Through the Land of Dan Paddy
One evening I strolled
On a Rambling House hooley I chanced
On the flags of that kitchen
The North Kerry Set
By the neighbours was gaily being danced
And the dancers they housed it
Around that old room
As the polka was stepped every part
And one there among them
Smiled over my way
And then housed it right into my heart


She lives by the Smearlagh
That river so fine
And whatever the future may be
I always will treasure
The love that I share
With that cailín, my Catherine, Mo Croí.

The old songs were sung
And the stories all told
And ‘twas time she went home by the stile
But we lingered along
By the winding bohereen
Reluctant to part for a while
So if ever you’re walking
Through Lyreacrompane
And you stop on your rambles like me
At a little abode
I will bid you “good day”
With my arm round Catherine Mo Croí.


She lives by the Smearlagh
That river so fine
And whatever the future may be
I always will treasure
The love that I share
With that cailín, My Catherine, Mo Croí.

                                  Joe Harrington

The Tinkerman's Daughter

(Mick McConnel)

The small birds were lining the bleak autumn branches
Preparing to fly to a far sunny shore
When the tinkers made camp at a bend in the river
Returning from the horse fair in Ballinasloe
Now the harvest being o'er the farmer went walkin
Along the Faele (Feale) River that borders his land
And 'twas there he first saw her twixt firelight and water
The tinkerman's daughter, the red-headed Ann.
Next morning he rose from a night without resting
He went straight to the tinker and made himself known
And at a pub in Listowel they worked out a bargain
To the tinker a pony, to the daughter a home
Where the trees cast their shadows along the Faele River
The tinker and the farmer they inspected the land
And a white gelding pony was the price they agreed on
For the tinkerman's daughter, the red-headed Ann.
Now the wedding soon o'er the tinkers departed
They were eager to travel on south down the road
But the sound of the iron-shod wheels crunch on gravel
Was as bitter to her as the way she'd been sold
But she tried hard to please him she did all his bidding
She slept in his bed and she worked on the land
But the walls of that cabin pressed tighter and tighter
Around the tinkerman's daughter, the red-headed Ann.
Now as white as the hands of a priest or the hangman
The snow spread it's blanket the next Christmas round
And the tinkerman's daughter slipped out from her bedside
Turned her back to the land and her face to the town
And it's said someone saw her at dusk that same evening
She was making her way out by Lyreacrompane
And that was the last that the settled folk saw her
The tinkerman's daughter, the red-headed Ann.
When the north Kerry hills cut the Faele at Listowel
At a farm on its banks lives a bitter old man
And he swears by the shotgun he keeps by his bedside
That he'll kill any tinker that camps on his land
And yet, when he hears iron-shod wheels crunch on gravel
Or a horse in the chaps of a bright caravan
His day's work tormented, his night's sleep demented
By the tinkerman's daughter, the red-headed Ann.

No Place Like North Kerry

(This song was written for the North Kerry Songs and Scenes DVD 
listed at the top of this page.)

I give to you the Kingdom
In Ireland’s Isle so fair
Of all the nation’s treasures
It’s the one beyond compare
From its hills and lofty boglands 
To the Shannon’s sparkling tide
There’s no place like North Kerry
With so much to be enjoyed

Let us ramble round for just a while 
In North Kerry o so fair
And breathe the ocean breezes 
And the moorland’s scented air
Coming down from the Stacks Mountains
By the Smearlagh we will stroll
To meet the shining River Feale
As it glides on by Listowel

With the thunder of the horses hooves 
And the scribes at Writers Week
For culture and excitement
No further need you seek
And westwards to the Cashen
And the wild Atlantic tide
Sure there’s no place like North Kerry
With so much to be enjoyed.

Come with me by Kerry Head
And on through Banna’s strand 
To see the village fountain 
And Artfert’s cathedral grand
On to Fenit where St Brendan
Is remembered to this day
Where the Samphire grows uniquely 
And the boats sail in the bay

Then take a walk around the streets
In the town of sweet Tralee
And you’re bound to meet a football star
In Strand Road or Boherbee
And in the Rock you’ll chance to meet 
A rose and maybe then 
You see a pale moon rising 
Above Queen Scotia’s Glen

And the little towns we’ll visit 
Sure they each have their allure
Like Tarbert, Ballylongford
Moyvane and Knockanure
Ballyheighue and Ballybunion
They nestle by the wave
There’s Brosna near Mount Eagle
And Knocknagoshel brave

Along the Feale you’ll find Duagh
Near the Shannon lies Asdee
And the hurling towns are huddled
In the one vicinity
Ballyduff, Lixnaw, O’Dorney
Kilmoley and Kilflynn
And Causeway where that ancient game 
Is played by mighty men.

I give to you the Kingdom
In Ireland’s Isle so fair
Out of the treasures in it
There is one beyond compare
From its hills and lofty boglands 
To the Shannon’s sparkling tide
There’s no place like North Kerry
With so much to be enjoyed