“Mulcahy's Gone Away”


"The hero of my humble song was once a mighty man, A shining light in his neighborhood, the chief of all his clan." Mulcahey, a politician, loses his office and disappears. His family laments as they seek for him


Dean has three songs about Mulcahy/Mulcahey, and they present a bit of a conundrum -- and not just because he can't decide how to spell the name! None of them seem to appear in any other source. The feel of the three is very similar, so I suspect some sort of stage origin.

It appears, adding them up, that Mulcahy was a big man in some sort of Irish neighbourhood. Then he was given some sort of a patronage job, presumably for turning out a large Irish vote for a particular candidate. It is not clear whether he was fired or simply let go when another administration came in.

The Irish community in Minnesota is large enough that such a story might be possible here. But it frankly souns much more like New York City to me -- local bosses were much more important there. My out-of-the-blue speculation is that this might come from some sort of musical show telling, indirectly, of the fall of Boss Tweed. But that is a lot of speculation based on very little data. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Dean, p. 83, "Mulcahey's Gone Away" (1 text)
  2. Roud #9570
  3. BI, Dean083


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1922 (Dean)
Keywords: family separation
Found in: US(MW)