Posted in Posts and podcasts

The Ould Bad Scrawl – 1901

Evening Herald 7th October, 1901, page 4

Morning Light, Kinvara
Photo: EO’D

From “Cloona” (Ballinrobe)
How is our good friend Bartley Hynes, of Kinvara and has he altered the Gaelic inscription on his donkey cart? The Irish class at the Depot has not been started yet, but they are investigating whether the crosses on donkeys’ backs are “legible.” My laureate had dedicated his ballad, “The Ould Bad Scrawl” to the Kinvara “copper,” but so far has not apologised to the authors of the “Ould Plaid Shawl.”

This is how he tears the cloth:-

Not far from ould Kinvara, on a merry August day,
When winds were singing cheerily there came across my way
As if from out the sky above an earthquake chanced to stray
An ass, a cart, a man named Hynes, likewise a load of hay.
He tripped along right joyously, his hat upon three hairs,
And seemed as if this cruel world from him had kept all cares.
His bright eyes glistened ‘neath his brows – he looked so trim and smart,
As he pointed to the name of “Hynes” in Irish on his cart.

I courteously saluted him, “God save you sir,” said I.
“God save you kindly, sir,” said he, and winked the other eye.
“I’ll thank you for your name,” says I, “as well as your address,
I’m a constable of police, and I fear you’re in a mess.
By 12 and 14 Vic.,, you see, and section ninety-two,
Your name must be upon your cart, so I must summon you.”
“Bedad,” says he, “’tis like ‘Lynch’ law, me liable to fines!
For writing in my native tongue the name of Bartley Hynes!”

Some people sigh for riches, some people live for fame,
And some upon their vehicles in Irish put their name.
My aims are not ambitious, though my wishes, don’t you see,
Are to get a quick promotion in the gallant R.I.C.
I’ll summon them through Galway, and I’ll summon them through Clare;
I’ll have no Irish on their carts, but English everywhere,
Else peace of mind I’ll never find, this motto’s next my heart
“When a name is writ in Gaelic, put the owner in the cart.”



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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