Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone

You see here’s where this challenge starts to lose me. I do not associate my memories of people with certain songs. Its not like a musical montage runs through my head whenever I think of my family and friends. But in saying that I do suppose that there is one song that fits the mold. This song is a family tradition of sorts. Written by a man called Sigerson Clifford, ‘The Boys of Barr na Sráide’ is a song that has been in my family since it was composed. Sigerson Clifford is a renowned Irish play-write, poet and song writer and just so happens to be a not so distant relation. The song itself ‘The Boys of Barr na Sráide’ which translates to the boys of top street recants the tales of the young Eddie (Sigerson Clifford) and his friends growing up in Cahersiveen (an Irish town on the Ring of Kerry). The song has great significance for my family and is sung at funerals to mark the passing of a Foley. This song does not just remind me of one person but rather my entire family, on my fathers side.

Oh the town, it climbs the mountain and looks upon the sea
At sleeping time or waking, ’tis there I’d long to be
To walk again that kindly street, the place where life began
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren

With cudgels stout they roamed about to hunt the dreólín
We searched for birds in every furze from Litir to Dooneen
We sang for joy beneath the sky, life held no print nor plan
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren

And when the hills were bleeding and the rifles were aflame
To the rebel homes of Kerry the Saxon stranger came
But the men who dared the Auxies and to beat the Black-and-Tan
The Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren

And here’s a toast to them tonight, the lads who laughed with me
By the groves of Carham river or the slope of Bean ‘a Tí
John Daly and Batt Andy and the Sheehans, Con and Dan
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren

And now they toil on foreign soil, for they have gone their way
Deep in the heart of London town or over in Broadway
And I am left to sing their deeds and praise them while I can
Those Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren

And when the wheel of life runs down and peace comes over me
Oh lay me down in that old town between the hills and sea
I’ll take my sleep in those green fields, the place my life began
Where those Boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren

11 responses to “Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone”

  1. Cool blog. I personally have a specific song that reminds me of most of my friends and romantic interests of past and present. I also think it is really mind blowing how a song can bring back a feeling. For example: When I hear a certain song that reminds me of an ex, and I heard it while going through that break up, even hearing it now that I am over the relationship I still experience the memory of those intense feelings.


  2. It’s interesting to me to me that you do not associate music to relationships or situations you are or have been connected to. Now, I’m not sure if it is a cultural thing or if it is just that way with you in particular (i.e. what could possibly attract you, emotionally to ANY music that you list as a fave to begin with?).

    Having grown up/lived in North American (Canadian) culture, all the music is geared for identity, emotions and even product association. As a film composer, I would want you to associate certain themes in a movie to certain characters/situations- that’s paramount! If you listen to my original music, I would also want to stir your imagination and encourage you to pin-point that particular music emotionally to the time/circumstances in your life when you first listen.

    The above connection is very important to me when I set out to compose. I always write from a title that suits what I am setting out to do or describe; I rarely change that title upon completion.

    That all being said, the fact that ‘The Boys of Barr na Sráide’ is heart felt to you, maybe, you ARE more sensitive to “memory” music than you think!

    I enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing. A


    • I guess I am sick of music acting as emotional punctuation in film. I don’t like to be told how to feel and when. But I feel that I have the independent ability to assign music to certain memories however the memory is not based on said song. I know that sounds confusing but I hope you can follow.

      In terms of film, have you seen the movie I am legend? There is a very interesting use of music in that film.


      • YOU do have the ability to assign music to certain memories if you write that movie/music etc.. Otherwise, it is SOMEONE else’s effort, good, bad or indifferent. It’s simply there for you to observe/be entertained.

        It is certainly your prerogative to agree or disagree with the “emotional punctuation” of a film or musical intent of a composition/tune. But, that is irrelevant to the composer’s considered interpretation of it.

        As far as film, my job as composer is to try enhance whatever emotion the director intended in a particular “spot”. Whether YOU buy into it or not is to be or not to be. However, the person next to you may be crying their brains out (or whatever was intended) and remember that scene BECAUSE of how I treated it musically; if that person was on a date and ended up marrying that date, well, that will be their movie.

        It is my (passion) art form and I do it to the best of my ability hoping YOU DO buy into it. If not, well, I can’t win them all.

        Understand, you are not being DICTATED to; it is simply being offered.

        Once it’s out there, it exists, like it or not. The fact that you like or don’t, again, is irrelevant; BUT healthy, as I made you think on it. Case in point, I Am Legend; as you stated, you simply happened to like/buy into that. That was a team effort from James Newton Howard and the recorders, mixers, orchestrators, etc. that the music department was responsible for. They certainly weren’t forcing any emotional issue; they were simply trying to enhance the visual.

        All the best from a lifer in music who has studied, created and performed and will continue to do so until he can’t. All the best, sincerely, A


  3. Hi Keelan,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

    I had never heard this song before. Pretty little mellifluous melody. Thanks for sharing it, and your thoughts along with it.



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