POEM FOR THE PECKER DUNNE

Picture of Pecker Dunne

Poem For The Pecker Dunne

Gather round this cold night by the campfire,and i’ll tell you a Tinkermans’ tale,
All about a great singer of Ireland,who triumphed where many have failed.
Born into a nomadic lifestyle,a horse drawn trailer it was his abode,
And he travelled the lanes of ould Ireland,and he travelled the dusty old roads.

“Sullivans John” to the road you have gone,Pecker Dunne wrote at eleven years young
And that was the dawn of his music career,and his wonderful story begun.
For he travelled the byways and highways,and could be found on a bright sunny day,
Playing songs down at Croke of the travelling folk,at the games of the old G.A.A

Well he sang of the Myxomatosis and he told of the ould Morris van,
And the tale of the Thirty foot trailer,and the songs of the travelling man.
And he gave us the songs of his people,where others had feared for to speak,
And he spoke out ‘gainst discrimination,and equal rights for his people did seek.

Well you’d find him not far from O’Callaghans Mills,in the famed banner county of Clare,
Down among all the horses and trailers at the world famous Spancil Hill fair.
And you’d find him out west into Galway and on the road up to Ballinasloe,
With his banjo and fiddle always close by at hand,for he always would put on a show.

Pecker drank with the great Richard Harris,a world renowned actor and drinker,
And starred in “The Good,Bad & Ugly”,not bad for an old Wexford Tinker!!
And he knew Eli Wallach and Oliver Reed,and he acted with the man Stephen Rea,
But he never denied that great traveller pride,on the open road Peckers’ heart lay.

Christy Moore never met with Bob Dylan,but he sang with the great Pecker Dunne,
So won’t you come now to me little daughter,won’t you come now to me little son.
For Pecker played with those brothers The Fureys,and Luke Kellys’ own Dubliners’ band,
With his own unique style that old banjo he played,and the greatest respect did command.

So always remember his music,and never then forget his face,
For he brought such joy unto his people,and he brought such pride unto his race.
For we are the Romany people,and in that we should suffer no shame,
Dunne,Barrett,Ward or other,travelling sister or brother,you should always take pride in your name.

So farewell to the tent and the trailer,and farewell to the old caravan,
And join me in praise of the great Pecker Dunne,of the Legend,Musician and Man.
For he shall be forever remembered,and his name it shall always live long,
Carried on by the travellers of Ireland,in their poems and in story and song.

(C)ProvoRhino. 9th June 2010.All Rights Reserved.

 

My  play PECKER DUNNE – LAST OF THE TRAVELERS, is a musical biography of one of Ireland’s last great travelling musicians.

A play with music about the travelling musicians of Ireland, mostly concentrating on Pecker Dunne and Margaret Barry. They were both from travelling families, Tinkers, and were marginalised by Irish society. Looked down on, indeed persecuted for their way of life. Both were great singers and musicians, and along with the great Johnny Doran, did more to promote Irish traditional music than almost any other person of our times. Both are dead now and the play is set in a kind of imaginary ‘halting site’, where departed souls are temporarily resident while awaiting transport to somewhere permanent.

PECKER DUNNE -LAST OF THE TRAVELLERS

Picture of Pecker Dunne

PECKER DUNNE- LAST OF THE TRAVELLERS

A play with music about the travelling musicians of Ireland, mostly concentrating on Pecker Dunne and Margaret Barry. They were both from travelling families, Tinkers, and were marginalised by Irish society. Looked down on, indeed persecuted for their way of life. Both were great singers and musicians, and along with the great Johnny Doran, did more to promote Irish traditional music than almost any other person of our times.  Both are dead now and the play is set in a kind of imaginary ‘halting site’, where departed souls are temporarily resident while awaiting transport to somewhere permanent.

 ‘I never met Bob Dylan but I sang with Pecker Dunne’  Christy Moore

extract from the play:

Scene one

A darkened stage, then a spotlight. PECKER DUNNE appears, carrying a banjo case. The case has Pecker Dunne stencilled across the body. Bearded, he wears a wide black leather belt with silver buckle on his trousers, and could be anywhere between 40/60 years of age. He sings I’M THE LAST OF THE TRAVELLIN PEOPLE (c) Pecker Dunne)             

PD:     Me name it is Paddy, I’m called Pecker Dunne

I walk the road but I never run,

I’m the last of the travellin’ people

With me banjo and fiddle I yarn and song,

and sing to people who do me no wrong

But if others despise me I just move along,

and know I’ll find friends in the morning

Arah money is money and friends they are friends,

And drinking with them is where all money ends

But it isn’t on money it’s on them I depend

When friends and the guards are against me.

From Belfast to Wexford from Clare to Tralee,

a town with a pub is a living for me

I haven’t a home but thank God I am free,

I’m the last of the travellin’ people

The road isn’t aisy but it’s what I choose,

I’m not always a winner but I’ll never lose

I’m the pride of me race, I’m the last of the few,

and I live like my father taught me

Now I’m on the road again travellin’ still,

Summer and winter keep travelling I will

But the road it is long and I know it will kill

The last of the travelling people.

As Pecker finishes the stage lights come up. There is a blank screen as backdrop.  Towards the front we see what looks to be a travellers halting site; campfire, cooking utensils etc – the impression being given is that the wagons etc are just out of sight. It should be a hazy, sort of unreal-looking place, with a few people seated at various points. Some of these can be musicians.

            PD:     Where the bloody hell is this place?

  On screen we can now read HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY PECKER.

 

            PD:     Birthday? Eighty?  What’s goin’ on here?

 MARGARET BARRY appears from the mist with her banjo. She sings THE GALWAY SHAWL (traditional)

MB:                At Oranmore in the County Galway,
One pleasant evening in the month of May,
I spied a damsel, she was young and handsome
Her beauty fairly took my breath away.

Chorus:
She wore no jewels, nor costly diamonds,
No paint or powder, no, none at all.
But she wore a bonnet with a ribbon on it
And round her shoulder was a Galway Shawl.

We kept on walking, she kept on talking,
‘Till her father’s cottage came into view.
Says she, “Come in, sir, and meet my father,
And play to please him The Foggy Dew.”

She sat me down beside the fire
I could see her father, he was six feet tall.
And soon her mother had the kettle singing
All I could think of was the Galway shawl.

I played The Blackbird and The Stack of Barley
Rodney’s Glory and The Foggy Dew
She sang each note like an Irish linnet.
Whilst the tears stood in her eyes of blue.

‘Twas early, early, all in the morning,
When I hit the road for old Donegal.
She said goodbye, sir, she cried and kissed me,
And my heart remained with that Galway shawl.

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