Slice of Life Story Challenge March 17 -Answering Ireland''s Call

Answering Ireland’s Call

During my student days I recall singing Irish music in a coffee lounge. I was paid in coffee and raisin bread. It was the going rate and I was happy to receive it. Irish music has been an enduring influence on my musical existence. I love the energy, the stories, the humour and the sadness. I am stirred by the lyrics and roused by the call to action. 

I remember in the early days of my teaching career teaching my students such songs as Shellicky Bookey –a little ditty sung to coax snails out of their shells to put out their horns. Shellicky Bookey was the name the children gave to the snails.

Shellicky shellicky bookey put out all your horns, all the ladies are coming to see you 
Shellicky shellicky bookey put out all your horns, all the ladies are coming to see you
What fun it was...

Then there was the slightly darker, Man of Double Deed
There was a man of double deed, who sowed his garden full of seed
when the seed began to grow, twas like a garden full of snow
when the snow began to fall, like birds it was upon the wall
when the birds began to fly, twas like a shipwreck in the sky
when the sky began to crack, twas like a stick upon my back
when my back began to smart, twas like a penknife in my heart
and when my heart began to bleed, then I was dead and dead indeed...

Being that today is St Patrick’s Day and both sides of my family history are linked to Ireland, it seems appropriate that as I am writing this slice, I am also listening to some Celtic music. Every St Patrick’s Day I crank up the music and assail my family with a selection of my favourites. They endure it at best.

The music has caused memories of my visits to Ireland to float up to further entertain me.

‘Vicki and I are in the fishing village of Dingle, visiting Murphy’s Pub. We each sip a pint of Smithwicks as we listen to a duo called Shenanigans palying traditional Irish music. They play to a packed room for almost two hours without a break. The singer plays guitar and his partner caresses an accordion. They appear to be in trance as they immerse themselves in the lilting energy of the music. Hypnotic jigs and reels sweep the audience away. Men, women and children from all corners of the world, united for one evening by the power of music…’

Irish Children's chant

Ahem! Ahem!
Me mother is gone to church.
She told me not to play with you
Because you're in the dirt.
It isn't because you're dirty,
It isn't because you're clean,
It's because you have the whoopin' cough
And eat margarine!

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem's Children's Medley


  1. I can almost hear the music playing.

    1. Excellent! It should be heard far and wide on this day.

  2. Simply grand, I tells ya. Grand.

  3. A feast of Irish tales and rhymes for this St. Paddy's Day! Thanks for sharing; this half-Irish lass appreciates your words.

    1. Glad you derived some pleasure from my musical celebration Chris.

  4. I stayed in a room above Murphy's in Dingle. Reading your post reminds me of the fabulous music as well as the warm, brown bread and butter. Thanks for sharing!

    1. A shared memory of place and music Mary. You understand my connection most clearly.


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