Mickey MacConnell
Singer / Songwriter



Only Our Rivers




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All the wee birds were lining the bleak autumn branches

Preparing to fly to a far distant shore

When the tinkers made camp at the bend in the river

Coming back from the horsefair in Ballinasloe.

The harvest being over the farmer came walking

Along the Feale River that bordered his land

And twas there he first saw her twixt firelight and water

The Tinkerman's daughter, The Red Headed Ann.


Next morning he rose from a night without resting

Went straight to her father and made his case known.

In a pub in Listowel they worked out the bargain

For the Tinker a pony: for the daughter a home.

Where the trees peg their shadows along the Feale River

The Tinker and farmer inspected the land

And a white gelding pony was the price they agreed on

For the Tinkerman’s daughter, The Red Headed Ann.


The wedding soon over the tinkers departed

They were eager to travel on south down the road

But the crunch of the iron-shod wheels on the gravel

Was as bitter to her as the way she’d been sold.

Yet she tried hard to please him – she did all his bidding

She slept in his bed and she worked on his land

But the walls of that cabin pressed tighter and tighter

On the Tinkerman’s daughter, The Red Headed Ann.


As white as the hands of the priest or the hangman

The snow spread its blanket the next Christmas round

When the Tinkerman’s daughter slipped out from the bedside

Turned her back on the land and her face to the town.

It was said someone saw her ere dusk that same evening

She was making her way out oer Lyracrumpayne

But that was the last time the settled folk saw her

The Tinkerman’s daughter, The Red Headed Ann.


Where the North Kerry hills cup the Feale near Listowel

On a farm on its banks lives a bitter old man

And he swears by the shotgun he keeps at his bedside

That he’ll kill any tinker who camps on his land.

But whenever he hears iron-shod wheels crunch on gravel

Or a horse in the shafts of a bright caravan

Then his days work’s tormented: his night’s sleep demented

By the Tinkerman’s daughter, The Red Headed Ann.

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