I first heard Finnegan's Wake
on a The Clancy Brothers
LP in the early sixties. I admire the way the Clancys do it and am envious of their light and lilting manner. "Tim had a sort of-a tippling way ....." My rendering is somewhat heavy handed and I have to watch out for some of the tongue twisting. It is well known in Germany and often asked for.
It is interesting to note the footnotes given in the various songbooks having this song.
- Irish Street Ballads by Colm O Lochlain says that it was learned by his mother in Kilkee about 1870. The late Canon Sheehan printed some of the words in one of his novels
- Soodlums 100 Irish Ballads Volume 1 says that the title of this well-known Dublin ballad was used by James Joyce for his famous book which is set in Dublin.
- In Ireland Sings by Dominic Behan, he lays bare his republican sentiments.. He remarks:
From "The Wake of Tim Finnegan", James Joyce starts the stream of consciousness that has wrapped the literary world in sleepless confusion ever since. Take away the possessive quality of the noun by simply removing the apostrophe and you have a great war cry to all the sons of Finn McCool, "Finnegans, Wake!"
This song is included in We're Only Here For The Beer! - Light
by Dr. Rosteck