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Paddy Driscoll

The King of the Duhallow Travellers he had earned the right
To his honourable title he won in a fist fight
A title he held till he drew his last breath
A hero in life and a legend in death.

The old Traveller Paddy Driscoll a man without fear
He loved his black porter and whiskey and beer
In his horse drawn van with his wife and his children he travelled around
And Duhallow to him it was always home ground.

I knew him as an old man he looked old and gray
And one who had clearly known a better day
He sang his old songs by the camp fire at night
As he drank his porter a memorable sight.

The chilly winds soughed in the wind swept hedgerow
On that night in November five decades ago
His children and grand children with him did sing
The memory still with me of the Travellers King.

Nowadays in old Ireland don't expect to see
At a cross road a horse drawn van of a Traveller parked close to a tree
The sixties brought changes and nothing does last
Though I still remember the forgotten past.

By the Shannaknock by road off of the main Killarney Road
For those of no fixed address a temporary abode
But they were never allowed to enjoy a long stay
For the police always came to send them on their way.

The last King of the Duhallow Travellers in his long rest lay
But stories about him are still told today
With his family he travelled in the green Countryside
And he drunk and he sung till the day that he died.

A great man like Paddy Driscoll how could one forget
With his bottle of porter I picture him yet
Sitting by the camp fire singing an old song
And his children and their children with him singing along.

by Francis Duggan

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