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Jimmy Murphy (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

'Jimmy Murphy' also known as 'Little Jimmy Murphy' is a song, possibly of music-hall origin, referencing the 1798 rebellion, which occurred largely in Wexford.

According to research by Roly Brown:

'There are three versions; from Jack Barnard and a Mr J Thomas, both noted by Cecil Sharp; and a version sent to Sharp which was supplied by a Dr John Taylor who recorded it from 'a soldier'.[1]

Each version is quite different, some not referencing the rebellion at all, but all versions sharing the distinctive Irish lilting refrain and a final verse stating that Jimmy Murphy was hung for courting ladies as opposed to sheep stealing.

According to Frank Harte ' has been suggested to me that the reference in the last verse to Kate Whelan:

Now Jimmy Murphy was hanged not for sheep stealing
But for courting a pretty girl and her name was Kate Whelan

could be interpreted as a reference to Ireland as Cathleen ni Houlihan.'[2]

'When I first heard this song, sung by Sean Óg O'Thuama many years ago, it had only three verses and that most peculiar chorus. A friend of mine, Luke Cheevers, in true traditional fashion wrote several verses, which I believe enhance the song, and expand the story.'Frank Harte[3]


See also


  1. ^ Mustrad Article by Roly Brown
  2. ^ Harte, Frank, 'And Listen To My Song - sleevenotes
  3. ^ Sleeve notes to 'Holly Wood by The Voice Squad, 1992.
This page was last edited on 7 October 2019, at 16:18
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