Wednesday, 7 August 2013

"There goes a poet if he only know it" "Only you're an ass you'd let the poet pass"

Ballyshannon 400 is going really well and I was amazed at the attendance at my Famine Walk on Monday 5th August when up to 200 people walked around Ballyshannon in glorious sunshine. Thanks to all who supported  this local history tribute to our forgotten Famine victims and especially to my colleagues Patricia Keane and Conor Carney who added greatly to the event with their songs, poems and stories.

On Friday 9th August I will be joining Michael Daly, Editor of The Donegal Democrat in the Abbey Centre at 3 p.m. when we will be looking back at the long history of newspapers in Balllyshannon. All welcome to this free event.

On Saturday 10th Patricia Keane and I will be doing a short reflection of about 30 minutes on the local history of the south side of  the Erne in Owen Roe's at 9 pm. as part of the Rock Parish Gathering. There will be other guests All welcome to this free event.

Check Town Council site or programme listing for events which continue until Sunday 11th August.

Anthony Begley

Francie Daly and William Allingham

Francis (Francie) Daly lived in Bachelor's Walk in the town and  was not married.  Daly was a painter and artist in brass and used to do ornamental brass plates and door knockers for the well to do. He also wrote poetry. Local anecdote would claim that Daly wrote some of Allingham’s poems. No substance has ever been provided for the claim or no specific poems identified as having been written by Francie Daly. William Allingham did say that he collected ballads at the fairs and perhaps this led to the suggestion, and that is all it appears to be, that Francie Daly wrote some of his poems. The work Allingham did on completing ballads may have given rise to this impression but his poetry was, one feels, his own work. 

Local lore  suggests that Francis Daly was walking down the Mall one day and as he passed William Allingham’s house, a voice from an upstairs window said: “There goes a poet if he only know it”. Daly turned around but couldn’t see anyone and replied: “Only you’re an ass you’d let the poet pass!”

An Erratic Genius

John Downey editor of  The Donegal Democrat described him as “an erratic genius and very few recognised the talent hidden by the somewhat peculiar exterior”. He composed a number of pieces of poetry few of which were ever published.He was a simple, unassuming person who was a familiar sight on the streets of Ballyshannon for many years. As an old man he read his poems and sung his own compositions to local youth in his home at Bachelor’s Walk.  Francie Daly died circa 1919.

Hallow-Eve Nights Dream

The following is an extract from a poem entitled, “Hallow Eves Night Dream” by Francie Daly . The background to the poem is believed to be, that in 1885 Daly was infatuated with Lily Harris a tightrope walker from “West Bromwich” and in the poem he talks of waking up in the morning and seeing the track a snail makes on a wall-it had made the initials L.H.  Lily Harris had been touring the country with a theatrical company and performed in Ballyshannon where Daly saw her as a young man and she remained the girl of his dreams. The poem makes use of placenames which gives it a local flavour and the artist referred to is Daly himself as he was a house-painter and sculptor of a kind. Daly’s Fort on the Hills of Tullymore was where the Daly family resided before coming to live in town.

In eighteen hundred and eighty-five, the date being true and right,
Many colleens fair and young played “tricks” on Hallow Eve Night,
Twas gathering weeds round corn-stacks that many took a turn,
Pulling the yarrow, throwing reels, and more had nuts to burn.
There was one among them who was both fair and tall,
She says,” Now each has played a trick, but I played none at all,
I have two nuts here in my hand from yonder hazel line
I shall burn them in my lovers name to see if hell be mine.”

They only saw her when she spoke and at her they did gaze,
A blazing brand she lifted up, and set the nuts to blaze,
She watched the flames as they did unite, and to them there she said,
A ring I see in the ruddy glow, my trick is truly played,
I must away my love to see, he rests by some bright stream,
And place these nuts beneath his head, perhaps on me hell dream,”
She quickly turned away from them, these maidens all in fright,
Saying fare ye well, I wish you joy, and “A Merry Hallow Eve Night.”

They all followed with their eyes, but she soon left their view,
Not knowing where she came from, nor where she was going too.
Says one on to another, “Ive seen her once before,
She was coming down from Dalys Fort on the hills of Tullymore.”

A bedroom door was on the lock; a fire was in the grate,
The artist he lay fast asleep when Morpheus showed his fate,
For a vision bright, all clad in white, and ornaments so rare,
With red-rose cheeks, coral lips, and yellow-golden hair,
She glided up to his bedside, and oer him she did stand,
The gold ring off her finger she held it in her hand,
She says, “This is our marriage token I truly tell to thee,
                                    For when we are two in one you must come with me.

50% Reduction on postage for orders for this book to all destinations. Genuine special offer. 

Ideal local gift for Christmas and all special occasions. 

Contact for further details and for orders of the book.

Signed hard back and soft back books available at special price for postal delivery or collection. 


 A New Local History Book suitable for those at Home and Away

A new book entitled: "Ballyshannon. Genealogy and History" reveals newly researched history and genealogy of the town, extending as far as the Rossnowlagh, Cashelard, Corlea, Clyhore, Higginstown and Finner areas. Includes the parishes of Kilbarron and Magh Ene.

The genealogy material provides detailed guidelines for anyone tracing their roots in the area or anywhere in County Donegal or Ireland. 

The book contains 500 pages and is richly illustrated with stunning colour, aerial photography, original illustrations and rare photographs of the area not seen before.

Topics include: How to go about Tracing your Roots/The first settlers in the area/ Newly researched history of the town of Ballyshannon and the townlands in Kilbarron and Mágh Éne parishes/ Records of the first travellers and tourists to Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Belleek, Rossnowlagh and Ballintra/An aerial guide to place names along the Erne from Ballyshannon to the Bar/Flora and Fauna of the area/ A history of buildings and housing estates in the locality/Graveyard Inscriptions from the Abbey graveyard, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s /Rolling back the years with many memories of the Great Famine, Independence struggle, hydro-electric scheme, Gaelic games, boxing, handball, Boy Scouts, soccer, mummers, characters, organisations, folklore and lots more.

Book Available from Anthony Begley West Rock Ballyshannon.  Enquiries welcome for postal and other details. Also available at The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon, Ballyshannon and District Museum, Ballyshannon Tourist Office, The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town.

The blogs are original and are not taken from the book above.

Final Blogs 

10th August "There goes a poet if he only know it"
                    "Only you're an ass you'd let the poet pass"
17th August "Ballyshannon a Market Town in Famine Times."(names of merchants and craft workers etc.)

24th August The Gaelic Revival in Ballyshannon a Hundred Years Ago.

31st August A Unique Diary of Ballyshannon Life in the 19th Century

7th September Complete Guide to Ballyshannon Musings 2012-2013

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people connected to the Ballyshannon area enjoyed the blog worldwide and the site received thousands of hits. The site is called Ballyshannon Musings and there are a number of back issues available on the internet. Copy this link and it can be googled at 

The blog archive of Ballyshannon Musings will still be available to read on the internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment