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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:20 am 
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Dunno if the right forum or thread, but I'm trying - please feel free to correct or instruct

As a Norwegian I'm not familiar with all aspects of language and culture and history, so sometimes I get puzzled by some of the lyrics in the Irish songs I love to sing.

This first time I would like to know if anyone have got an explanation of the implicated meaning of this phrase:
"And others without scruples pelting wattles at poor Maggie
And her daddy well contented to be gazing at his daughte
r"

And while we're at it:
Who are "The boys of Connemara and the Clare unmarried maidens" - is there any implicated significance to this or just some incidental poetics?

Regards
Egil


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:51 am 
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Hi, and welcome. I'm no expert, but I'm guessing ...

Didjeridust wrote:
This first time I would like to know if anyone have got an explanation of the implicated meaning of this phrase:
"And others without scruples pelting wattles at poor Maggie
And her daddy well contented to be gazing at his daughter
"

Throwing sticks (wattles) at a pretty girl (Maggie) is the immature (without scruples) adolescent boys' way of showing that they like her, which pleases her father because it means that her prospects for marriage are good.

Didjeridust wrote:
And while we're at it:
Who are "The boys of Connemara and the Clare unmarried maidens" - is there any implicated significance to this or just some incidental poetics?

That's pretty straightforward, no? The unmarried men of Connemara (roughly West Galway) and the unmarried girls of Clare, coming together at the races where, er, romance happens.

Going deeper, the opportunities in rural Ireland to meet people outside your own village and area were relatively rare. The song emphasizes the Races as a special event that draws people from all over the West of Ireland. After the Famine, the emigration of so many young Irish men overseas left many rural Irish women without good marriage prospects. So the function of regional races, markets etc. as courting opportunities became even more important as a social lubricant.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:00 pm 
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Quote:
After the Famine, the emigration of so many young Irish men overseas left many rural Irish women without good marriage prospects.


While Irish marriage patterns did change dramatically in the post famine years, I'd suggest current thinking about this, the mechanism was far more complex than just the young men emigrating. In fact the patterns persisted and well into the twentieth century when there was in fact a surplus of unmarried men. But that's well outside the realms of this thread.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:21 pm 
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Hey this is fantastic. :)

Not only did I get plausible answer to what I wondered about, but more interesting facts as a bonus.

I love this forum after only 1 post

Regards


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