Leitrim (a brief history)

from by Mick Blake



Inspired by a notorious Irish Landlord from the 19th century,
and a notorious Taoiseach from the 21st century.
A pig won't hear of bacon when its snout is in the trough,
or as the French say, plus ça change.


Leitrim (a brief history)

At Carrick-on-Shannon 1845
The landlords of Leitrim in droves did arrive
They all to a man were invited to go
To the Cora Droma Rúisc Agricultural Show
The streets were bedecked with farm produce galore
And fashions the likes of which weren't seen before
There were traders from Sligo displaying their wares
A band from Drumsna played enlivening airs

When the show it had ended, the gentry repaired
To Churches' hotel where a menu was served
Of pedigree beef, fine lamb and fish
They feasted on every concieveable dish
The head of the table, Lord Leitrim, stood up and said
Gentlemen, let us now raise a cup
To our Lord Lieutenant, Victoria our Queen,
The finest monarch that Ireland has seen

A farmer from Mohill rose from his chair
And begged the indulgence of everyone there
It falls upon me, sir, I regret to say
To temper with caution this glorious day
There's news of a curse that is borne on the breeze
A newly discovered potato disease
There are tubours in Flanders, black in the ground,
But there other sources of food can be found

I fear that this blackness is coming our way
Alternative sustenance without delay
must be found if our tenants are going to survive
For it's on the potato alone that they thrive

Lord Leitrim laughed, put down his beer
Regarded the good Farmer Smyth with a sneer
This talk of blight and of shortage of food
Doesn't do my appetite any good
And so Farmer Smyth we beseech you and pray
Do not sully and darken this wonderful day
With your message of doom, your pessimist frown
We demand sir at once you desist and sit down

For potatoes are plentiful and disease free
And potatoes are perfect nutritionally
To feed all out peasants and keep them content
To pay us our somewhat exorbitant rent

Carrick-on-Shannon 2005,
The town had expanded and businesses thrived
We were the landlords, a new King was crowned
A tiger whose unrestrained greed knew no bounds
A few brave dissenters said "people, take care,
There's a blight on our finances, please be aware,
That it's all built on nothing, why such demand
For houses of clay on foundations of stand"

Our valiant leader rose up and said
Begrudgers like you would be better off dead
We'll be the first boom to never go bust
No reason to change, there's no need to adjust
For Captain Fitzpatrick and Corporal Drumm
Will march all our destinies into the sun
And loose regulation will set our boys free
To do what they like to our economy

Languishing here in my ghostly estate
The tiger is gone now the wolf's at the gate
A ghost of that farmer from black '45
Still haunts the highways with told-you-so cries
Still we don't listen, we don't want to hear
that the good times will end, that the swill disappears
And all the pig-troughing's no more in the offing
Til it's too late

Now Lord Leitrim is gone and his tenants are free
There's a NAMA hotel where his home used to be
And a new type of landlord lays claim to our land
Speaking a language I don't understand.............


from Oblivious, released March 17, 2017



all rights reserved


Mick Blake Leitrim Village, Ireland

Mick Blake is a singer/songwriter, originally from Letterkenny, now living in Leitrim. His songs have a strong social message. Christy Moore included "Oblviious" on his 2016 album "Lily".

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