From the recording The Rare Oul' Times
One of my first vocal arrangements, of a song that I'd wanted to sing for a long while. While it's something that happens all the time, still it doesn't get sung about very often. Sure there are lots of songs about relationships that ended when one partner changed and the other didn't - but very few in which one partner is a city and the other is a confused old man.
Raised on songs and stories, Heroes of renown, Are the passing tales and glories That once was Dublin Town. The hallowed halls and houses, The haunting childrens' rhymes - That once was Dublin City In the rare ould times. Ring a ring a rosey As the light declines I remember Dublin City In the rare ould times. My name it is Sean Dempsey, As Dublin as can be Born hard and late in Pimlico, In a house that ceased to be. By trade I was a cooper, Lost out to redundancy. Like my house that fell to progress, My tradeâ€™s a memory. And I courted Peggy Dignan, As lovely as you please, A rogue and child of Mary, From the rebel Liberties. I lost her to a student lad, With skin as black as coal. When he took her off to Birmingham, She took away my soul. Now the years have made me bitter, The whiskey's dimmed my brain, While Dublin keeps on changing, And nothing seems the same. The Metropole and Pillar are gone, The Royal long since pulled down, As the grey unyielding concrete, Makes a city of my town. So fare thee well my Anna Liffey, I can no longer stay, And watch the new glass cages, That rise up along the Quay. My mind's too full of memories, Too old to hear new chimes, I'm part of what was Dublin, In the rare ould times. Ring a ring a rosey As the light declines I remember Dublin City In the rare ould times.