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Lanigan's Ball

from Soul of a Harper by Marc Gunn



The song is about a guy who does just that. His dad dies so he decided to throw a big ol' wake, but more than that it's a party because he CAN do it. Then as the news spreads, everyone and his grandmother shows up for the fun. By the end of the party, it's turned into an all out brawl.


In the town of Athol one Jeremy Lanigan
Battered away 'til he hadn't a pound.
His father died and made him a man again
Left him a farm and ten acres of ground.
Myself to be sure got free invitation,
For all the boys and girls I might ask,
And without being asked both friends and relations
Danced like bees 'round the sweet cask.

There were lashings of punch and wine for the ladies,
Potatoes and cakes; bacon and tea,
Nolans, Dolans, all the O'Gradys
Courting the girls and dancing away.
Songs they went 'round as plenty as water,
"The harp that once sounded in Tara's old hall,"
"Sweet Nelly Gray" and "The Rat Catcher's Daughter,"
Singing together at Lanigan's Ball.

They were doing all kinds of nonsensical polkas
All 'round the room in a whirligig.
Julia and I, soon banished their nonsense
And tipped them the twist of a reel and a jig.
How the girls they all got mad at me
For they thought the ceiling would fall.
I spent six months at Brooks' Academy
Learning to dance for Lanigan's Ball.

Six long months I spent up in Dublin,
Six long months doing nothing at all,
Six long months I spent up in Dublin,
Learning to dance for Lanigan's Ball.
She stepped out and I stepped in again,
I stepped out and she stepped in again,
She stepped out and I stepped in again,
Learning new steps for Lanigan's Ball.

The boys were merry, the girls all hearty
Dancing around in couples and groups,
An accident happened, young Terrance McCarthy
He put his foot through miss Finnerty's hoops.
The craythur she fainted, and roared, "Bloody Murder,"
Sent for her brothers and gathered them all.
Carmody swore he'd go no further
'Til he had revenge at Lanigan's Ball.

In the midst of the row miss Kerrigan fainted,
Her cheeks at the time as red as a rose.
Some of the lads declared she was painted,
She took a small drop too much, I suppose.
Her sweetheart, Ned Morgan, so powerful and able,
When he saw his colleen stretched out by the wall,
Tore the left leg from under the table
And smashed all the Chaneys at Lanigan's Ball.

Boys, oh boys, 'twas then there were runctions.
I got a kick from big Phelim McHugh.
I soon replied to his introduction
And kicked up a terrible hullabaloo.
Casey, the piper, was near being strangled.
Squeezed up his pipes, chanters and all.
The girls and boys they got all entangled
And that put an end to Lanigan's Ball.


from Soul of a Harper, released January 1, 2004
Traditional Irish song




Marc Gunn Atlanta, Georgia

Marc Gunn is a rhythm and folk musician inspired by Celtic culture, science fiction, fantasy, and cats--Sci F'Irish music.

He breathes new life into the autoharp, which continues to surprise musical veterans and fans alike for its unique sound and spirited energy. It’s like a satirical jam session between The Clancy Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic.
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