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Aghadoe

Author of “Aghadoe”, John Todhunter (December 1839 – October 1916) was an Irish poet, playwright, and medical physician.

It’s a ballad about the Irish 1798 Rebellion, supposedly narrated by a bereaved female, about her rebel lover, who was betrayed and executed. It is not known if the event described in the lyrics were based on any real-life story.

Lyrics: John Todhunter MD, (December 1839 – October 1916).
Vocals: Liam Clancy (September 1935 – December 2009).
Music: Liam Clancy with The Irish Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dr Todhunter was educated at a Quaker school in Mountmellick, Co. Laois, and later at Bootham, in the city of York, in England; before being apprenticed at the age of 16 years, to the Dublin Quaker firms of Bewley’s and Pim, Dublin, both tea-and-sugar importers. (Thomas Pim, one of the original members of Pim Brothers & Co; born in 1771, grew up also in the Mountmellick area of Co. Laois).

Todhunter entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1861, to study medicine, winning numerous college prizes for his prose and poetry.

His poem “Aghadoe” was set to music by the late Tipperary folk-singer Liam Clancy.

Aghadoe.

There’s a glen in Aghadoe, Aghadoe, Aghadoe.
There’s a deep and secret glen in Aghadoe.
Where we met my love and I, love’s fair planet in the sky,
In that deep and silent glen in Aghadoe.

There’s a glen in Aghadoe, Aghadoe, Aghadoe.
There’s a deep and secret glade in Aghadoe.
Where I hid in, from the eyes of the redcoats and their spies,
That year the trouble came to Aghadoe.

But they tracked me to that glen in Aghadoe, Aghadoe,
When the price was on his head in Aghadoe,
O’er the mountain through the wood as I stole to him with food,
But the bullets found his heart in Aghadoe.

I walked from Mallow town to Aghadoe, Aghadoe.
I took his head from the jail gate to Aghadoe.
There I covered him with fern and I piled on him the cairn*.
Like an Irish king, he sleeps in Aghadoe.

END

* Cairn: Meaning in this case a heap of stones piled up acting as a memorial or as a landmark.

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