The Kerry Recruit

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'The Kerry Recruit' is an Erse sang, written in Inglis, tawkin o the Crimean Weir whilka took place frae 1853 antil 1856 atween a coalition mad up frae Ingland, Fraunce, Sardinia an the Ottoman Empire agains Roushie. The names o the places mentionit in the sang are richt battlefiels.

Battlefieds mentionit in the sang[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Kerry lad who sings is said tae hae (it's a story, dinae forget!) survived tae a lot o horrible an bloody battlefields whilka are:

  • The Battle o Alma in September 1854,
  • The Battle o Balaklava on 25 October 1854, whilka wis particularly terrible,
  • The Battle o Inkermann in November 1854.
  • The Battle o Redan. He haes had heivy injures while assaultin.[1]

The Kerry Recruit is written in line wi the anti-militairy tradeetion whilka stairtit at the time o the Napoleon Wars.

Text o the 'Kerry Recruit'[eedit | eedit soorce]

(There are ither versions, but this ane is the maist kent.)

About four years ago I was diggin the land
With(=wi) me brogues on me feet and me spade in me hand
Says I to meself, what a pity to see,
Such a fine strappin' lad footin' turf in Tralee
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Well I buttered me brogues, an shook hands with me spade,
An the way down the road like a dashing young blade
When up comes a sergeant an he asks me to list,
'Arra, sergeant a gra, stick a bob in me fist'
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Well here is a shilling as I got no more
When you'll get to have quarters you will have a score
And a quick strucking mean said the sergeant good bye
You'd not wish to be quarted neither would die
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Nau the first thing they gave me it was a red coat,
With a wide strap of leather to tie round me throat
An the next thing they gave me I asked what was that,
And they told me it was a cockarde for me hat
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
An' the next thing they gave me they called it a gun
With powder an bow an' a place for me thumb
Well first it fire spat and then she spute smoke,
An' they gave me out shoulders such a hair lover stroke
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Well the first place they sent me was downed to the see,
On the board of a warship bound for the Crimea
Three sticks in the middle all rowled round with sheets,
Lord, she walked on (or thro' depends o the version) the water without any feet
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
When at Balaclava we landed quite soon,
Cold, wet and hungry we lay on the ground
Next morning for action the bugle did call,
And we had a hot breakfast of powder and ball
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Well we fought at the Alma, likewise Inkermann,
But the Russians they whaled us at the Redan
In scalin' the walls there meself lost an eye,
And a big Russian bullet ran off with me thigh
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Well 't is off there we lay stretched upon the cold ground,
'T was heads, legs and arms were all scattered around
I wished that me mam me cleaveens were nigh,
So they'd bury me decent and gave a loud cry
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya
Well they brought me a doctor and he soon staunched wi' blood,
And he made me a great elegant leg made of wood
They gave me a medal and ten pence a day,
So contented with Sheela, I'll live on half pay
Wid me too ra na nya with me too ra na nya,
Wid me too ra na noo ra na noo ra na nya

Interpretaitions[eedit | eedit soorce]

Som fowksingers interpreitit this sang. Luke Kelly[2], far example, is ane o thaim: bat awso Ronnie Drew, Bob Lynch, John Connoly.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. http://www.triskelle.eu/lyrics/kerryrecruit.php?index=080.010.040.050 on first paragraph
  2. Luke Kelly's interpretaition o The Kerry Recruit