All I Remember

Mick Hanly

I was lured by the rocking horse,
Sweets and the bualadh bos,
Fifty wild boys to a room.
Sing lámh, lámh eile, the dish ran away with the spoon.
Black shoes and stockings for those who say don’t.
Blue is the colour outside.
God made the world,
The snake tempted Eve and she died.
Wild Christian Brothers sharpening their leathers,
Learn it by heart, that’s the rule.
All I remember is dreading September and school.

And they made me for better or worse,
The fool that I am or the wise man I’ll be.
And they gave me their blessings or curse.
It wasn’t their fault I was me …
Not the one that you see.

The priest in confession condemns my obsession,
With thoughts that I do not invite.
I mumble and stutter,
He slams down the shutter,
Goodnight   – (Good night to you too, Father!)
Stainless as steel,
Lord, you know how I feel,
Someone shoot me while my soul is clear.
I don’t think I’ll last,
But my vow to abstain was sincere.
Arch-confraternity men to the fight,
Raise up your banners on high.
Searching for grace,
Securing my place,
When I die.


Oh God, he kept a very close eye on me,
Hung round my bed in the darkness, he spied on me,
Caught me in the long grass so often, he died on me….

Ballrooms of romance in Salthill or Mallow,
I stood like John Wayne by the wall,
Lined up like cattle, we wait to do battle and fall.
You can’t wine and dine her in an old Morris Minor,
So ask her before it’s too late.
I danced on girls’ toes – accepted rejection as my fate.
Drink was my saviour, it made me much braver,
But I couldn’t hold it too well.
I slipped on the coach and ruined my approach as I fell.


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In my memory Mick Hanly sang this song to me in Connolly Hall Cork circa 1981. His words have been corrupted over the years as I sang it in sheebeens and concert halls.  It describes fittingly the 50s and 60s groping with adolescence whilst gettin’ the head bate off of us by frustrated bog trotters dying from the lack of horn pleasure if not the horn itself, love and companionship too, the poor hures.