P. J. McCall

Life
1861-1919 [Patrick Joseph]; b. Dublin 6 Mar 1861, son of John McCall, ed. St. Joseph’s Monastery, Harold’s Cross, a Catholic University school, Dublin; associated with Fr. Matthew Russell of The Irish Monthly, and edited the Feis Ceoil collections; m. Mary Furlong, sister of Alice Furlong (and purported relation of the poet Thomas Furlong); freq. contrib. to Old Moore’s Almanac as “Cavellus”;

best known for “Follow me up to Carlow”, to an air by Fiach MacHugh O’Byrne in 1580, “Kelly the Boy from Killann”, and “Boolavogue” on Father John Murphy, being a version of an earlier version re-written for the 1798 commemoration year; issued Irish Noíníns (Dublin 1894), poems; Songs of Erin (Dublin 1899); Pulse of the Bards (Dublin 1904); also legends, The Fenian Nights’ Entertainments, first appearing in Shamrock; his manuscript Ballad Collection is in the National Library of Ireland. PI DBIV DIW DIL FDA OCIL

[ top ]

Works
In the Shadow of St. Patrick’s: Notes and Reminiscences (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker 1894), iv, 48pp.; Irish Noíníns [Daisies] (Dublin: Sealy & Bryers 1894) [infra]; The Fenian Nights’ Entertainments (Dublin: T. G. O’Donoghue 1897); Songs of Erinn (London: Simpkin, Marshall 1899); Pulse of the Bards [Cuisle na hÉigse]: Songs and Ballads (Dublin: Gill 1904), 151pp.; Irish Fireside Songs (Dublin: Gill 1911).

See also P. J. McCall, ‘In the Shadow of Christ Church’, Dublin Historical Record (March 1940), pp.112-16 [journal of Old Dublin Society], incl. ref. to Major Sirr; John Ogilby; Dr. Dopping, et al.; appended to which Additional Notes ... kindly forwarded by Rev. Myles V. Ronan, correcting six points, incl. Brother Michael Clery, or ‘Father Michael Clery’.

[ top ]

Bibliographical details
In the Shadow of St Patrick’s: Notes and Reminiscences (Sealy, Bryers & Walker, Mid. Abbey St. [1894]), vi, 48pp, on Mangan, Father Meehan, O’Connell, Emmet, Major Sirr, Zozimus [Michael Moran], &c., &c.; 6d. [Ryan, op. cit. infra, p.130n]; see also ‘In the Shadow of Christ Church’ [Pt. III], in Dublin Historical Record, 2.3 (March 1940), pp.112-116.

See also R. A. Gilbert, ed., Irish Folklore and Mythology in the Nineteenth Century [Irish history and culture, 6 vols] (Tokyo: Edition Synapse; London: Ganesha Pub. 2003- ), Vol. 5: P. J. McCall, Pulse of the Bards (Cuisle na h-éigse) and Irish fireside songs.

[ top ]

Commentary
W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival, Its History, Pioneers and Possibilities [1894] (NY: Lemma Publishing Corp. 1970), gives this account: P. J. McCall, Catholic University man, intimate knowledge of Old Dublin, of Wexford and Wicklow [see his contributions to Dublin Historical Record], command over metres and versification almost equal to [43] Mangan’s; his mind stored with the drollest of old songs of the people, with their idioms, superstitions, and fancies ... it is no exaggeration to say that his sketches called Fenian Nights’ Entertainments, contributed in after years to the Shamrock, are amongst the happiest illustrations afford in our days of how the Irish peasant at his best can tell a story. He lives in a house in Old Dublin that teems with strange memories, and there has every-day opportunities of studying Celts both quaint and queer. No phase, flash, idiosyncrasy, or idiom escapes his observant Celtic nature [44].

[ top ]

References
Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), , speaks of his as being descended from ‘old Tyrone family driven out at plantation’; gives extract from Fenian Nights’ Entertainments, being a series of Ossianic legends told at a Wexford fireside, 1st Series, Shamrock Lib., Vol. 2 (1897). See also Colm MacLochlainn, Anglo-Irish Song-writers (1950). DIL quotes a comic extract [9 prose lines] from Fenian Nights on the creation of Ireland’s Eye to illustrate a spirit opposite to Yeats; selects “Fionn Maccumhail and the Princess”, from Fenian Nights’ Entertainment [‘Wance upon a time, when things was a great’le betther in Ireland than they are at present, when a rale king ruled over the counhtry wid four others undher him to look afther the craps an’ other industries, there lived a young chief called Fan MaCool’ ‘win he was on the shaughraun ... ‘“I’m Fan MaCool,”, sez the other, as impident as a cok sparra, “have you anything to say agen me?”, for his name wasn’t up, at that time, like afther’, Fionn MacCumhail; and note Hiberno-English glossary, ftn. [see infra] ‘Old Pedhar Carthy from Clonmore’ [‘never the equal of Old Pedhar would you crack again/Never such another would delight another would delight your eye’ ... The Ryans and the Briens and their factions were afraid of him/For Pedhar’s gihting keppeen could command a ready score’]; ‘Light of the World’ [“Love, will you come with me into the tomb?”, spake from his coffin the dead young man/”Yeat, I will go with you” ... said the girl, with a loving sighing ..’]; ‘Herself and Myself’ [by turns, ‘Says Herself to Myself: “We’re as good as the best of them” / Says Myself to Herself: “Sure we’re better than gold”/..”We’re as young s the rest of them” /[...] “Troth, we’ll never grow old”; and NOTE, this poem used by Sean O’Casey in ‘Nannie’s Night Out’, acc. Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature, 1979)]. BIOG [as above]. Anglo-Hibernian Glossary gives raumash [rameis]/nonsense; coatamore/coat; foosther/diversion; waum-asin/[?]; traumauns/eldertrees; deeshy/small; brushna/furze; faysh/festival; moryah/forsooth; geersha/girl; geoghagh/begger; ollaves/judges; lushmores/foxgloves; leanaun/fairy guardian; creepie/three-legged; bocagh/beggar; crooshenin and colloguin; acvochal; cruistin/throwing; clochaun/stone; also salachs/untidy people, tinkers.

[ top ]

John Cooke, ed., The Dublin Book of Irish Verse (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1909), gives “The Bonny Light Horseman, a Jacobite Ballad” [‘A poor lonely maiden, I am now going over / To Shemus, in Flanders, to look for my lover: / Oh. Mary, my pity! [?hows] shall I discover / My bonnie light horseman, away in the war ... My bonnie light horseman is slain in the war!’]; also “The Bouchaleen Bawn: A Spinning Duet”.

[ top ]

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, 105-06, reprints the poem “Boulavogue”; founder member of Irish National Literary Society (London).; ‘Boulavogue’ first printed in Irish Weekly Independent (18 June 1898) as ‘Father Murphy of the County Wexford’, a contrib. to 1798 centenary; shown by Zimmerman (Songs of Rebellion) to be based on ’98 songs “Come all You Warriors [...]”, “Some Treat of David”, and “Fr. Murphy, or the Wexford Men of ’98”; set to the tune of another called “Father Murphy”, and now sung to “Youghal Harbour”, and known as “Boulavogue” since 1922, when a variant text appeared in P. Walsh’s Songs of the Gael, 4th ser. (1922). See also FDA3, 495: Deane notes that the substance of this text is produced in Austin Clarke, ‘Early Memories of F. R. Higgins’, in Dublin Magazine (Summer 1967), pp.68-73.]

[ top ]

Terry Moylan, The Age of Revolution in the Irish Song Tradition, 1776-1815 (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2000), rep. ‘‘The Boy from Killann’’ [as sic] and ‘‘Boolavogue’’.

Belfast Central Public Library holds Irish Fireside Songs; Irish Noinins; Pulse of the Bards; Songs of Erinn (1899). NOTE, Austin Clarke, Penny in the Clouds (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1968), Chap 2: ‘[W]e [Clarke and F. R. Higgins] made our way [...] to the public house in Patrick St., owned by P. J. McCall, who had written ‘Follow Me Up to Carlow’ and other rousing ballads [ed. best known for the song ‘Boulavogue’, from Irish Fireside Songs, 1911]. The literary pair broach literary topics, but are stone-walled by their interlocutor behind the bar. ‘After a while, he happened to remark that the Boss was at home in Clontarf with a bad cold. We realised that we were talking to the barman./Hastily, we left that public-house [

[ top ]

Quotations
At Boolavogue the sun was setting / O’er the bright May meadows of Shelmalier, / A rebel set the heather blazing / And brought the neighbours from far and near’ [… &c.]

Follow me Up to Carlow by P. J. McCall
 
Lift, MacChair Oge, your face,
Brooding o’er the old disgrace,
That black Fitzwilliam stormed your place
      And drove you to the fern!
Grey said victory was sure -
Soon the Firebrand he’d secure;
Until he met at Glenmalure
      Feagh MacHugh O’Byrne!
 
Chorus
  Curse and swear, Lord Kildare!
Feagh will do what Feagh will dare;
Now, Fitzwilliam, have a care
      Fallen is your star, low!
Up with halbert, out with sword,
On we go; for by the Lord!
Feagh MacHugh has given the word:
      Follow me up to Carlow!
 

See the swords of Glen Imayle
Flashing o’er the English Pale!
See all the children of the Gael
      Beneath O’Byrne’s banners!
Rooster of a fighting stock,
Would you let a Saxon cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock?
      Fly up and teach him manners!

 
From Tassagart to Glonmore
Flows a stream of Saxon gore!
Orb, great is Rory Oge O’More
At sending loons to Hades!
White is sick and Lane is fled!
Now for black Fitzwilliam’s head -
We’ll send it over dripping red
      To ’Liza and her ladies!

Note: Given in a letter written by Jacques Marcanton on behalf of James Joyce to James Maurice Craig (9 Sept. 1938) having been received from Lord Carlow. (See Letters of James Joyce, Vol. III, 1966, pp.428-29.) Notes identify sources as McCall’s Songs of Erinn (1899) and Irish Fireside Songs (1911). The traditional air was first played by fiach MacHugh O’Byrne marching to attack Carlow after his victory over the forces of the English Deputy Lord Grey de Wilton, at Glenmalure in 1580. Also noticed are MacCahir Oge, viz., Brian MacCahir Cavanagh whom Sir William Ftizwilliam had driven out of his possessions; the Firebrand, viz., Fiach MacHugh O’Byrne; Lord Kildare, viz., Henry, 12th Earl of Kildare, aka Henry na tuagh or Henry of the Battleaxes; Glen Imaal, in West Wicklow, sources of many fighting Irishmen in 1580 and 1798; Rory Ogue O’More; Micholas White, Master of the Rolls, a rebel-0hunter; Ralph Lane, also active against the rebels. (See Letters, III, p.428-29; footnotes.)

[ top ]

Notes
Literary Soc
.: P. J.McCall was a member of the group in Dublin which founded the Literary Society there, meeting first in John O’Leary’s rooms on Mountjoy Square, and later formally at the Rotunda. Douglas Hyde’s diary records that Hyde spent the evening on which was founded the Gaelic League in July 1893 writing up an account in McCall’s rooms in Dublin, after drinks with others connected with the event. [See Douglas Hyde. Rx.]

Sally Gardens: P. J. McCall claims he heard an ‘Old country love song’ called “Down by the Sally Gardens” in 1875; the first stanza transcribed resembles Yeats’s to the point of plagiarism, with additional words such as ‘own true love’, and just as the leaves’, &c. (Quoted in Colin Meir, Ballads and Songs of W. B. Yeats: The Anglo-Irish Heritage in Subject and Style, London: Macmillan 1974; rep. 1983, pp.16-17; cited in Daniel Albright, ed., Poems of W. B. Yeats, 1992, notes, p.424; see also A. N. Jeffares, A New Commentary, Macmillan 1984, p.13-14).

[ top ]