The Pursuit of Farmer Michael Hayes

Trad Arr C. Moore

I am a bold undaunted fox that never yet was trapped or caught.
Me rent, rates and taxes I was willin’ for to pay.
I made me name in fine good land between Tipperary and Knocklong
Where my forefathers lived and died three thousand years ago.

I lived as happy as King Saul and loved me neighbours one and all,
I had no animosity for either friend nor foe,
Then I was of late betrayed by one who was a fool I know.
He told me I should leave the place and show me face no more.

The day that he evicted me, it’s then I knew that I should flee.
Late one night I took his life and left him lying low.
He fell victim to a shot, his agency was soon forgot.
From that day on they’re searchin’ for farmer Michael Hayes.

Soon there was a great lookout by land and sea myself to rout
From Dublin Quay to Belfast along the ragin’ sea.
By telegraph they did insert a great reward for my arrest,
Me figure, size and form, me name without mistake.

They broke their brogues a thousand pairs this great reward for to obtain;
Still their search was all in vain for farmer Michael Hayes.
They searched Tipperary o’er and o’er, the cornfields near Galtymore;
They then went into Wexford town but did not long delay.

Through Ballyhale and Stranemore, they searched the woods as they went on.
It’s they were hungry wet and cold before the break of day.
You may roam the world both far and near but never such a tale you’ll hear
Of a fox to get away so clear as I did from them hounds.

They searched the rocks, the gulfs, the quays, the ships, the liners in the bays,
The ferryboats and steamers as they were goin’ to sea
Around the coast they made a steer from Poolbeg lighthouse to Cape Clear,
Killarney town and sweet Tralee; they then crossed into Clare.

When they landed on the shore they searched Kilrush from tip to toe.
They searched the baths at sweet Lisdoon, likewise Milltown Malbay.
Galway bein’ a place of fame, they thought ’twas there I might remain,
Still their search was all in vain for I gave them all leg bail.

They searched the train at Oranmore as she was leavin’ for Athlone,
Every wagon, car and coach they met along the road.
Connemara being remote, they thought ’twas there I might resort;
As they were gettin’ weary they resolved to try Mayo.

In Ballaghaderreen they has to rest until the hounds they were refreshed.
They then went on to Westport and searched it high and low.
Through Castlebar they made a trot when they heard I was in Castlerock,
Still they were deluded where I lodged the night before.

In Swinford town as I lay down, I heard a dreadful cry of hounds
Which filled me with the notion to retaliate my chase.
Being weary from the road, I took a drink at half past four
Which filled me heart with strength and speed when the hounds were gettin’ slow.

As the moon began to shine I thought I’d make a foreign clime,
Leave them all to search away for farmer Michael Hayes.
To Dublin town I made my way and then to Cobh and Amerikay;
Now I’m in the land of liberty and a fig for all my foes.

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This is not complete but it’s all I can recall this morning. There are a few good verses about the chase through south Leinster.  I’m striving to get this song back into the set, it was a Planxty classic in the late 70s.  Its on the album “After The Break” on the Tara label.  This version is an amalgam of different versions and, if memory serves me, the melody we used came from John Lyons from Tradaree. After the lengthy chase the song ends rather abruptly. I suspect one of two things. Either there’s a verse missing or else the writers flow was interrupted by the realisation that it was opening time