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Sullivan's John

(Pecker Dunne)

[Song Brook]

Key of D (Double Drop D - DBGDAD)

Also known as 'O'Sullivan's John.' This song is attributed to Pecker Dunne, the great Traveller musician. The story revolves around a fellow who wants to join the Tinkers, or Travelling people as they are known. However the life he had among the settled folk is no preparation for the hard life of the road. In the end he regrets his decision and no doubt goes back to his previous existence.

Sullivan's John to the road you've gone
Far away from your native home
You've gone with the tinker's daughter
Far along the road to roam
Sullivan's John you won't stick it long
Till your belly will soon get slack
When you're out on the road with a mighty load
And a tool-box on your back

I met Katy Coffee with her neat baby
Behind on her back strapped on
She'd an oul ash plant all in her hand
For to drive her donkey on
Enquiring at every farmer's house
As along the road she passed
Where could she find an oul pot for to mend
And where could she swap an ass

There's a hairy ass fair in the County Clare
In a place they call Spancil Hill
Where me brother James got a rap of a hames*
And poor Paddy they tried to kill
They loaded him up on a donkey and cart
While Mary and Kate looked on
Bad luck to the day that I went away
To join with the tinkers band

*Hames - Two curved supports attached to the collar of a Draft-Horse to which the traces are fastened.