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Origins: Galway Shawl - author

DigiTrad:
THE GALWAY SHAWL


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Galway Shawl rhyming scheme (15)
Lyr Req: Galway Shawl parody / Galway Drawl (7)
Tune Req: The Galway Shawl (68)
Chord Req: The Galway Shawl (8)
rude version of Galway Shawl (4)
She wore no jewels, no costly diamonds.. (15)


Peterr 27 Aug 04 - 07:52 AM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Aug 04 - 11:03 AM
Peterr 27 Aug 04 - 12:17 PM
Arkie 29 Sep 12 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,JeffB 30 Sep 12 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 01 Oct 12 - 02:55 AM
GUEST,Pizel 01 Oct 12 - 05:56 AM
Mysha 13 Aug 14 - 03:03 PM
Alan Day 13 Aug 14 - 06:00 PM
Dave Hanson 14 Aug 14 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Desi C 14 Aug 14 - 05:17 AM
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Subject: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: Peterr
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 07:52 AM

I think I've searched all the threads, but probably not. I know that 'no song ever wrote itself' but I am trying to discover the song's origins - or is it 'Trad Anon'?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 11:03 AM

You'll know that it's already been extensively discussed here; this new thread will probably just attract repetition of what has already been said. I can add a little, though.

The earliest example I know of is in Sam Henry's Songs of the People, p 269, from Bridget Kealey, Dungiven, 1936. Frank Harte told Ewan MacColl "The Galway Shawl is not a very serious song and has always been sung at a kind of popular level and of late was adopted by the showband crowd." (MacColl and Seeger, Till Doomsday in the Afternoon, Manchester University Press, 1986, 218-220; note accompanying a set recorded from Shelia MacGregor [Sheila Stewart]).

I don't find any reference to broadside examples, though it's not unlikely that it was issued on songsheets at some point. Clearly related, though, is a song called The Red Plaid Shawl, which has a very different tone. It reads like a parody of the sentimental song. Copies can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads. None are from identified printers, so are undated; but the song appears in catalogues issued by Sanderson (Edinburgh) and Such (London) so would likely be of the second half of the 19th century. Galway Shawl, if it was indeed the model, would be a little earlier, but probably not by very much.

The red plaid shawl


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: Peterr
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 12:17 PM

Malcolm
Many thanks - I obviously didn't look hard enough. I realised that were yards of thread on the song but I didn't discover any attribution


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: Arkie
Date: 29 Sep 12 - 10:54 PM

Heard the Galway Shawl for the first time a few days ago, and have now listened to several versions of the song. While I would not call it a great song, it is pretty, and a bit sad. I have now read all four threads on Mudcat and do not care a bit about the the author. I am curious if there is any significance to the term Galway shawl. In one thread it was mentioned there were four styles. In one youtube performance, the singer indicated the wearing of the shawl indicated that the wearer was betrothed. This was not mentioned in any of the threads on Mudcat. Is that an Irish tradition, or was it an Irish tradition to wear a shawl to indicate impending marriage?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 30 Sep 12 - 10:42 PM

The shawl was not specifically Irish but at one time a very common article of clothing for women generally. There very well might have been regional styles of Irish shawl, and Galway certainly had its own. It was red with long fringes, and made by the women of the Claddagh. Up until the 1930s this was an especially poor community of fisherfolk near the town of Galway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Oct 12 - 02:55 AM

Arkie says that he wouldn't call Galway Shawl a great song.
Well, thinking about it, there are not many songs that I would call great, but The Galway Shawl is certainly a very fine song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: GUEST,Pizel
Date: 01 Oct 12 - 05:56 AM

Talking of shawls I can remember the time when working class women carried their bairns in shawls. They had a special way of fixing the shawl which allowed the free use of both hands for work, without fear of the bairn falling out.
A traveller woman at the kitchen door of a manse trying to sell "delf"
[pottery ware} to the ministers wife got so exasperated at the low prices offered for her wares that she exclaimed as she turned to walk away "ye can kiss ma erse" a wee head popped out of the shawl and said "an ye can kiss mine tae" [too].


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RED PLAID SHAWL
From: Mysha
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 03:03 PM

Hi,

That would be:


The Red Plaid Shawl

One summer's morning, I took a ramble,
Down by a bramble I took my way,
I met a damsel, she looked so charming,
I list to what she had to say:
Oh! she wore no jewel or costly diamonds
She had no finery - none at all,
She wore no chignon, but sung a sweet song,
This lovely colleen with a red plaid shawl.

I stepped up to her, she smiled so sweetly,
She winked at me - she looked so shy,
Will there be any harm in, I said so charming,
My sweet colleen one kiss to try.
She cocked her eye, she look'd so sheepish,
I scare knew myself - no not at all,
She asked me to tread her - this fair young creature,
May they all look sideways on her red plaid shawl.

She stole my heart this artful colleen,
I kept on speaking - I could not stop,
At last she said what is your calling,
I'm a clerk, I said, in a marine store shop.
I treated her and spent my money,
She gave me a clump which made me fall
I fell in the gutter and there did sputter,
Bad cess to the damsel with the red plaid shawl.

Next morning early when day was dawning,
I found my coat, chain and watch was gone,
My had was aching, my limbs was shaking,
You may guess, my boys, I felt forlorn,
The kids were bawling - some were squalling,
Jim twig the cove up against the wall,
While they were shouting I kept on spouting,
May the devil wife the damwel with the red plaid shawl.


Other versions seem to exist under titles "The Old Plaid Shawl", "The Ould Plaid Shawl", and "The Auld Plaid Shawl", apparently. But that title is also used for a different song.

Bye
                                                               Mysha


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: Alan Day
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 06:00 PM

I found the ending rather sad and wrote another verse.Some like it some do not,but I like happy endings.

I soon returned to see my colleen, to the sweetest girl of all.
She was laughing as she ran to greet me when I reached her garden wall
We are now married with two lovely children and I am pleased I can recall.
That day when first I saw her and round her shoulders hung the Galway Shawl,

Al


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 03:34 AM

Why do some people find it hard to accept that no-one knows who wrote certain well known songs ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Galway Shawl - author
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 05:17 AM

Yes Arkie, the wearing of the shawl did signify that the girl wearing it was spoken for. Hence the song is really a comedic tale of a young minstrel thinking he's struck lucky, in fact if you take the words literally the shawl is ALL she wears. But the shawl symbolically acts as a protection in the shape of her Father, to protect her virtue. The joke in Ireland is that The Galway Shawl is an old form of birth control, and that you can buy the shawl in packets of three! ;)


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