“November Keady Fair”


The singer takes his nanny goat to the November fair at Keady. He sells her for half-a-crown. "She was nineteen times at Jim's auld buck." Now that she's gone he'll miss her wagging tail, her nipping kale in the garden, and their rows at the fireside.


Keady is in County Armagh. - BS

The Irish had a rule that a young man could not marry until he had land -- a fairly effective means of population control, since it resulted in a lot of late marriage. It's one reason there are so many songs about lonely young Irishmen out looking for girls. Makes you wonder if this guy didn't come up with a substitute....

The rows at the fireside are also not unreasonable. By the mid-nineteenth century, especially in Connaught, the land had been subdivided into so many small holdings that those who were relatively fortunate enough to own an animal would perforce keep it with them in their hovel (often little more than a sod shack). Pigs were more often kept than goats, from what I've read, but obviously goats were possible too. Though, in that context, it would be unlikely that the house would have kale; all land would go to potatoes. - RBW


  1. McBride 56, "November Keady Fair" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #5311
  3. BI, McB1056


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1988 (McBride)
Found in: Ireland