Táimse 'n Arréars

WORDS: Translated from the Irish by Michael Coady. Adapted by Breandán Higgins. Verse four by Tim Dennehy.
MUSIC: Trad. Arr. Coady, Higgins, Dennehy

This is probably a good example of how songs can alter and, indeed, develop a life of their own in the oral tradition. I first heard Breandán Higgins sing it in Leitir Mór, Connemara in the mid-seventies. Breandán had adapted the Tipperary place-names of Carrick and Cashel to Kilrush and Miltown and had added some lines of his own. The Crosses of Annagh and Gleeson's of Coore, being just a stone-throw from where I live, had to be added.
The late Micho Russell recorded a version and, of course, Cór Chúil Aodha, have their own rousing version of the song in Irish.

I spent one year down in Kilrush
And over in Miltown one more
'Til the bailiffs were chasing my shadow
And I left without settling the score.

Mar atáimse 'n arréars in arréars
Táimse in arréars i dtigh an óil
Táimse 'n arréars in arréars
Is ní fada go mairfeadsa beo.

I'll go on a skite to Ennistymon
For to hound there and act there the rake
'Til the hags with their beads in the corner
Will be crying their tears for my sake.

A priest good counsel he gave me
For to buy myself some warm clothes
But 'tis no good being warm on the outside
When your belly 'tis freezing with cold.

I called to the Crosses of Annagh
And I danced some steps on the floor
Went on to Gleeson's of Coore
Where I swapped lies until four.

Now that is the end of my short song
But if you want to hear me sing more
Fill up my glass with black porter
And put three six inch nails in the door.