“A Trace-Boy on Ligoniel Hill”


The singer recalls with pride the days of the horse trams when he was a trace-boy on Ligoniel Hill. Today his "friends all departed, and work now so scarce," he sleeps on open brick kilns. "The only thing left is a ride in a hearse"


Leyden: Two horses were added to a Belfast horse-drawn tram team for the pull up steep inclines. "This task was done by trace-boys who waited at the bottom of steep hills such as Ligoniel.... The Ligoniel Tramway system started up in the summer of 1885." The kiln reference is to open kilns at brick manufacturing companies: "After a day's firing the kilns retained their heat for a considerable time so that many tramps and paupers took advantage of the free heat for the night." - BS

Cross references


  1. Leyden 16, "A Trace-Boy on Ligoniel Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Hammond-Belfast, p. 50, "A Trace Boy on Ligoniel Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Bell/O Conchubhair, Traditional Songs of the North of Ireland, pp. 78-80, "A Trace-Boy on Ligoniel Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. BI, Leyd016


Author: Hugh Quinn (1884-1956) (source: Leyden)
Earliest date: 1978 (Hammond-Belfast)
Found in: Ireland