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Kelligrews Soiree

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Kelligrews Soiree

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Kelligrews Soiree
(J. Burke)

You may talk of Clara Nolan's ball or anything you choose,
But it couldn't hold a snuff-box to the spree at Kelligrews.
If you want your eyeballs straightened just come out next week with me
And you'll have to wear your glasses At the Kelligrews Soiree.

     There was birch rine, tar twine, Cherry wine and turpentine,
     Jowls and cavalances, ginger beer and tea
     Pig's feet, cat's meat, dumplings boiled in a sheet
     Dandelion and crackies' teeth At the Kelligrews Soiree.

Oh, I borrowed Cluney's beaver, as I squared my yards to sail;
And a swallow-tail from Hogan that was foxy on the tail;
Billy Cuddahie's old working pants and Patsy Nolan's shoes,
And an old white vest from Fogarty To sport at Killegrews.

     There was Dan Milley, Joe Lilly, Tantan and Mrs. Tilley,
     Dancing like a little filley; 'twould raise your heart to see.
     Jim Brine, Din Ryan, Flipper Smith and Caroline;
     I tell you boys, we had a time at the Kelligrews Soiree.

Oh, when I arrived at Betsy Snook's that night at half past eight,
The place was blocked with carriages stood waiting at the gate.
With Cluney's funnel on my pate the first words Betsy said:
"Here comes a local preacher with a pulpit on his head".

     There was Bill Mews, Dan Hughes, Wilson, Taft, and Teddy Roose,
     While Bryant he sat in the blues and looking hard at me;
     Jim Fling, Tom King, And Johnson, champion of the ring,
     And all the boxers I could bring at the Kelligrews Soiree.

The Saratoga Lancers first, Miss Betsy kindly said;
Sure I danced with Nancy Cronan And her Grannie on the "Head";
And Hogan danced with Betsy oh you should have seen his shoes!
As he lashed old muskets from the rack That night at Kelligrews.

     There was boiled guineas, cold guineas, Bullocks heads and picaninnies
     And everything to catch the pennies, you'd break your heart to see;
     Boiled duff, cold duff, apple jam was in a cuff;
     I tell you, boys, we had enough At the Kelligrews Soiree.

Crooked Flavin struck the fiddler and a hand I then took in;
You should see George Cluney's beaver And it flattened to the rim.
And Hogan's coat was like a vest -- the tails were gone, you see.
Says I "The devil haul ye and your Kelligrews Soiree!"

This is a popular Newfoundland folk song written by Johnny Burke in the
1920's, closely based on an older New York Irish song called "The Irish
Jubilee", which documents a similar party and lists the guests and bill of
fare. This version of The Kelligrews Soiree comes from "Old Time Songs
of Newfoundland", 1955 edition.

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