While researching my mother's side of the family, in order to create a documented tree, I came across this newspaper article.  It was sent to her back in 1993 from our cousins in Loughrea, Ireland along with other copies of items.  I originally wanted to find out when this page was printed, so I could determine if this 'reply' poem was written by my great-grand-uncle.  Since the date was not copied, I started searching the Internet about several hints: Patrick Kelly; Roddy the Rover; Stormont; League of Nations' Radio Nations; Irish Sea Airways; and 'Rocks of Bawn'.  I believe this article was printed circa 1937, and I give detailed explanations of my assumptions listed on other pages of this site.  There is much more research to be done to fully prove this, but I felt it more important to publish my findings now, in the hopes that others can contribute to this 'Rock Collection'. 
    Forgive my assumptions, as I am going off my gut feelings about several things.  Forgive my typos, as my fingers sometimes do not listen to my brain, and my brain wants the fingers to type faster.  I truly hope that this will inspire two things: first, that "those-who-can" will look through old prints of 'Roddy the Rover' articles for verification; and second, that "those-who-should" will look through their grandmother's scrap books for bits and pieces of lost information.  I am aware that this will cause a 'stir', but we all need a little excitement in our lives. 
May 20, 2008
Research Notes: Rocks of Bawn
    I have tried not to be specific on the notes I've listed below, as I do not know the copy-write issues of the websites I've visited.  You are certainly just as able as I was to search the Internet for these clues, and see for yourself the items that I have found.  (I have posted several links below).
    The first thing that I looked for on the Internet was "The Rocks of Bawn".  I have found MANY websites, as well as, MANY versions of the words.
    One thing I found, on multiple sites, was references that Joe Heaney had told someone that he had remembered his father singing it to him '40 or 50 years' earlier, and that was in the early 1960's.  I understand that Mr. Heaney was from the Connemara area, and so was Patrick Kelly.  I could see Mr. Heaney's father hearing the words, and therefore singing the song to Joe in his early years.
    Another thing that I had found, on multiple sites, was that Sam Henry had noted in his "Songs of the People", that it had taken him two years to find the words, and that Pat Macgill had thought he had seen in on a broadside once.  So, I researched 'broadside', and found that broadsides were used in the 1920's and 1930's, although not often.
Research Notes: Patrick Kelly, Cashel, Roddy the Rover, and League of Nations
    I have found almost nothing on the man and his life. 
    I did find notes from the Cashel, Connemara area that referenced it as the home of poet Patrick Kelly.  I have emailed a website and requested any information they might have on his life, but have not had a reply to date. (May 21, 2008).
    I also found a picture of a memorial stone that says: "I wonder if my old friends speak of me, in Cashel by the Sea. P. Kelly.  1879-1940".  I have also emailed this website, but they were unable to help with my research.
    So I next looked up "Roddy the Rover" and found several websites that mentioned this was a pseudonym for Aodh De Blacam, 1890-1951.  He wrote articles for the "Irish Press" newspapers, under the title "Seen, Heard, and Noted".  He was also arrested by the 'Black and Tans', and was very fond of true Gaelic literature.  He apparently knew Patrick Kelly personally, as I found he is mentioned in one of Mr. Kelly's books.
    Then I started looking for "Irish Press" newspapers, and found that they first began publishing in 1931, but has since closed, and I can not find a contact to request an archives search.  I have found a website that has several volumes of this newspaper for sale, and have emailed a request for someone to check the books for this particular article, but have not yet had a reply. (May 21, 2008).
    The next thing I researched was any reference to the League of Nations, and the Radio Nations broadcasting system.  Again, several websites, but no actual hint as to when this was happening.  So I emailed the Swiss Government, quoted this article, and very gratefully, received a reply!  The Swiss Government was in negotiations with the League of Nations from 1928 to 1930, and after a few years of Switzerland building the transmitter and such, the first short-wave transmission took place between 1930-1932.  In 1932, the League started with the emission of their own programs.  Well, at least I was able to show this article printed after 1931!  (Of course it did..Irish Press didn't start until 1931!)
Research Notes: Arrivals and Departures
    This last section of the photocopy shows "Arrivals and Departures", I presume in the Dublin area, as the "Irish Press" was located in that city.
    I started looking for "LMS", as I didn't think I would find much on "B and I".  The results showed that this was a train, and therefore I knew I would never be able to search for any passenger lists.  I was hoping that I'd find these specific names, and therefore be able to determine when this article printed.
    Since I had no luck there, I tried "Irish Sea Airways" and found many websites!  The first flight under this common name was in May 1936.  I then tried to see if there were any passenger lists for the airlines, but found none online.
    I also could not find anything on the very last note of the page "Professional Intelligence", and/or Surgeon P.J. Smyth.
    After all of this research, I came to the conclusion that this article printed between May 1936 (based on Irish Sea Airways) and 1940 (when Mr. Kelly passed away).  I felt strongly that if Mr. Blacam had indeed known Patrick Kelly, he probably would have rephrased the introduction of this article.  This introduction seems to me to be from a man who is proud to know Mr. Kelly (present tense), not one who is sad to see him gone from this world (past tense).  Although, the one thing that stumps me is the reference to the League of Nations.  If the 'Radio Nations' stayed with the League, then the Swiss never purchased it, they just helped get the broadcasting company up and running in the early 1930's. 

Sam Henry, July 10, 1926 (note dated 12 Oct 2008)
Sam Henry collection, RASCAL

Joe Heaney liner notes about Sam Henry by Henrick Norbeck
Joe Heaney liner notes about Sam Henry by John Moulden

Peter Sarsfeld version of 'Rocks of Bawn' with liner notes

Pat Macgill
Killeter Fair
(Note: This links to a 2006 computerized version of a circa 1937 writing about the poem, written by Francis Kelly, who traveled the fair circuits.)

Joe Heaney, Voice of the People notes
Joe Heaney, Voice of the People, more
Joe Heaney, Interview

Broadsheets: Oxford Companion
Broadsheets: Cuala Press
Broadsheets: Jack B. Yeats

Joe Dolce: Weekly Newsletter; October 17, 2008
(Note: This newsletter may be archived by the time you are reading this, so just click "Newsletter Archives", and follow the dates.  Joe's blog is about halfway down the page.)

Dublin Magazine, snippet view of book review "The Salley Ring"
(Note: I first searched for ["Patrick Kelly" salley ring] in google.books, and found one hit on 'The Dublin Magazine'.  The link to the book did not show what was written about Patrick Kelly, so I typed in only the words "Patrick Kelly" in the 'search this book' section.  The result showed page 73, but not the sentence fragment that the original "" search showed.  Then I played with words like "salley", "Kelly", "verses", and finally hit on the snippet view with "Connemara".)

Mudcat blogs, multiple threads on "Rocks of Bawn"

JMI article, in Gaelic, May-June 2008
(Note: I can't read Irish, and when I emailed this site, the following day the article was converted to the current snippet view.  I am now, however, learning Irish from Rosetta Stone!  I hope it helps!)

Irish Monthly, snippet view of book review "The Salley Ring"
(Note: I had to tweak the wording for the "Search this book" section just like I did with the Dublin Magazine, this time using words from the sentence that showed on the "" search results page.)

UPDATE: October 19, 2008
    I have emailed the website for Reuters to request if they have information regarding the Radio Nations, but have not yet received a reply.
    I have already looked for this article in the Irish Press newspapers from May 1936 through December 1937 (Jan-Mar 1937 are not available), borrowed from the Library of Congress (6 reels at time), and am awaiting the 1938 reels.

These two men have taken wonderful pictures of the Connaught area.  This may help those who would like to see some rocks of bawn!

"The Rocky Countryside Connemara", taken by Jim

"Old Shed Ballyconneely", taken by Kevin


    Throughout the summer and into the fall of 2008, I have seen many websites debating the origin of the song.  There are links to only a few of those many sites here.

    I noticed that a lot of people put great weight in Sam Henry's notes, dated July 10, 1926 and specifically the phrase regarding Pat Macgill saying that he had seen it on a broadsheet. I have NO argument with this! What I have issues with, is that it seems a lot of people think that if it was sold at a fair on a broadsheet, then that fact alone means it must be very old!  I fully disagree with that idea of the song being so old.  Broadsheets were common in the early 1900's (the more famous ones by the Yeats family have links posted here.)  (More kudos to Librarians!)

    From what I can read about Sam Henry, he had collected his songs from within 20 miles or so from his home in Coleraine, co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland. (see the "RASCAL" link).  I think it took him two years because of his physical location and it's distance from Patrick Kelly's home in Cashel, co. Galway, Ireland.  The mere fact of lack of widespread communication in the 1920's like the internet, would create delays of publications like broadsheets getting around the country.  If broadsheets were sold at fairs, and I could imagine that they were not produced in great volume, then most of them would have been purchased by locals---and kept.  It was not like you could jump onto a computer and purchase last week's printing of the local paper---once they're gone, that's it.

    Patrick Macgill was born in 1891, and I would think that he remembered hearing the song at the Strabaine Fair in his young ADULT life.  It surely wouldn't have been in the 1800's, because Pat would have only been 9 years old at the turn of the century.  What 9 year old boy would even think about songs he heard at a fair, let alone pay attention to printed versions!  That leads me to conclude that he was paying more attention to songs, and such, in his later years.  He would have been about 35 years old during the time-frame that Sam Henry was doing his research.  I could understand a young adult remembering the broadsheet, which would mean that time would be around 1911-1925.

    In the link to the "" search of "The Dublin Magazine", you can see that Mr. Kelly's work was on "brochures" according to the reviewer.  This review was printed in the October-December 1941 volume, page 73.  The article puts the timeline in this sequence:
Brochure form
Ballads (published 1922)
Irish Statesman (publications of the newspaper began in 1923)
Dublin Magazine (which started printing his work about 1924)    

UPDATE: February 6, 2009
    Just before Christmas 2008, I finally found the above newspaper article in the Irish Press, dated August 9, 1939.  That date would show that my great-granduncle had not been the person to write the poem.  It has taken me one full year to find these results.

    I have also found the article, dated July 29, 1939, that inspired the above poem.  Roddy the Rover had printed "The Rocks Of Bawn", by Patrick Kelly in his column.  This article clearly states that Patrick Kelly's song is sung to the tune of an "old Western refrain".  (See my notes on 'Poems by Patrick Kelly' page.)

    Between this article, and the note below the title of the poem published in "BALLADS", Mr. Kelly must not have written the original street ballad, but used that tune, and created his own song, which in turn inspired a "Sweeney-without-the-Mac".

    I truly did not think that Sam Henry's version was the original street ballad, but my discoveries of the article below and the "BALLADS" version of Patrick Kelly's new song, are a strong indication that it was.  It would really be a 'find' if the broadside that Patrick Macgill remembered ever shows up.  I would also like to find the broadsides of Mr. Kelly's ballads, that were mentioned in the "Dublin Magazine" book review of "THE SALLEY RING."

    Until those broadsides are found, the origin of the original street ballad may never be known for sure.  Sam Henry gives the impression that it was in Northern Ireland, but Aodh De Blacam writes "an old Western refrain" in his article below.