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Updated 04/16/2020


The Wedding of Ballyporeen

Ballyporeen (Irish: Béal Átha Póirín) is a village in County Tipperary, Ireland. It lies in the Galtee-Vee Valley with the Galtee Mountains to the north and the Knockmealdowns to the south. The River Duag which is a tributary of the Suir runs through the village.

The origins of the name are not definitively understood. The most accepted Irish translation is the "Ford Mouth of the Round Stones". Those stones may have been river deposits or dye stones left there by inhabitants from a cloth dyeing process. Another theory is the original name got corrupted over time; a 1618 document referred to "Bealanporan", this and possible previous forms would alter its meaning. One respected historian believed 'Powers-town' was the correct translation of its origins.

The village has been for a long while known to the lovers of song as the scene of “The Wedding of Ballyporeen,” and the house where it was supposed to have been written.

English sources make a claim of authorship of the song for James Field Stanfield (1749-1824) - shown above, Dublin-born, who seems to have had a life in the theatre as a jack-of-all-trades, including comedian, actor, scenery painter and playwright. He wrote a comic opera called The Fisherman, performed in 1786 and was for some years manager of a theater in Scarborough, and of a company in the north of York. Stanfield's song was called "The Irish Nuptials, or the Wedding at Ballyporeen" and was first performed at Scarborough in 1797.

His biography reads:

James Field Stanfield was born in 1749 at Dublin. He for the Catholic priesthood France. He was He joined the Eagle (under Captain David Wilson) in Liverpool on a slaving expedition to Benin as a common sailor on 7 September 1774. He was arrived on the Eagle in Benin, and transferred about 40 miles inland to a slave-trading fortress at Gato for eight months in November 1774. He was was hired by Captain Wilson for the Middle Passage to Jamaica on board the True Blue, one of a crew of 15, of whom eight died. 190 slaves were sold in Jamaica, before the True Blue sailed back to Liverpool (arriving 12th April 1776) - one of only four survivng crew members, including the captain in June 1775. He was an actor in 1777 at Manchester. He married Mary Hoad on 25 October 1785 at The Parish Church, Cheltenham; Certificate signed by Hugh Hughes, curate, and parties' signatures witnessed by Sarah Trapp - illiterate - and James Morris. NB Groom spelled name with "ff". James Field Stanfield was "The Fishermen", a two-act comic opera, unpublished in 1786. He was Ho made his debut as part of Tate Wilkinson's York circuit company (his wife also being a performer) on 7 October 1786 at Doncaster. He was "Observations on a Guinea Voyage" was published - a series of letters addressed to The Rev'd Thomas Clarkson in May 1788. He was "The Guinea Voyage", a dramatic poem published in 1789. He was "Life of the late John Howard" (the prison reformer) published anonymously by W Thompson of Newcastle in 1790. He was a brandy merchant between 1793 and 1796 at Sunderland. He was Songs and verse (15 pieces) published in the Freemasons' Magazine between 1793 and 1798. He married Maria Field Kell on 29 October 1801. James Field Stanfield was "Essay on the study & composition of biography" published by subscription in Sunderland - "moralistically erudite" but "confused and ineffective in a very strange degree" in 1813. He was He taught elocution and composition in April 1814 at Edinburgh. He was a prompter between 1819 and 1820 at Glasgow. He died on 9 May 1824 at Wootten Street, Lambeth, London; (his home) "aged 74", having had a total of ten children by his two wives. He was buried on 15 May 1824 at St Mary's, Lambeth.


Descend, ye chaste nine, to a true Irish Bard,
You're old maids, to be sure, but he sends you acord.
To beg you'll assist a poor musical elf,
With a song ready-made, he'll compose it himself;
About maids, boys, a priest, and a wedding,
With a crowd you could scarce thrust your head In;
A supper, good cheer, and a bedding,
Which happened at Ballyporeen.

 Twas a fine Summer's morn, about twelve in the day.
All the birds fell to sing, all the asses to bray,
When Patrick, the bridegroom, and Oonagh, the bride
In their beat bibs and tuckers, set oil, side by side.
O, the pipers play'd first in the rear, sir.
The maid blushed, the bridesmen did swear, sir;
O, Lord: how the spalleens did stare, sir.
At this wedding of Ballyporeen.

They were soon tacked together, and home did return.
To make merry the day at the sign of the churn;
When they sat down together, a frolicsome troop,
O, the bunks of old Shannon ne'er saw such a group.
There were turf-cutters, threshers, and tailors.
With harpers. and pipers, and nuilors,
And pedlers. and smugglers, and sailors,
Assembled at Ballyporeen.

There was Bryan MacDermot and Shaughnessy's brat.
With Terence and Triscol, and platter-faced Pat;
There was Norah Macormic and B-yan O'Lynn,
And the fat, red-haired cook-maid, who lives at the inn.
There was Shelah, and Larry, the genius,
With Pat's uncle, old Derby Dennis;
Black Thady and crooked Macgennis,
Assembled at Ballyporeen.

Now the bridegroom sat down to make an oration,
And he charmed all their souls with his kind botheration;
They were welcomed, he said, and he swore, and he cursed.
They might eat 'till they swelled, and might drink till they burst.
The first christening I have, if I thrive, sirs,
I hope you all hither will drive, sirs;
You'll be welcome all, dead or alive, sirs,

To the christening at Ballyporeen.


Then the bride she got up to make a low bow,
But she twittered, and felt so-she could not tell how-
She blushed And she stammered-the few words she let fall.
She whispered so low that she bothered them all.
But her mother cried: "What, are you dead, child?
O, for shame of you. hold up your head, child;
Though sixty, I wish I was wed, child,
O, I'd rattle all Ballyporeen."

Now they sat down to meat-Father Murphy said grace,
Smoking hot were the dishes, and eager each face;
The knives and forks rattled, spoons and platters did play,
And they elbowed and jostled, and wollopped away.
Rumps, chines, and fat sirloius did groan, sirs.
Whole mountains of beef were cut down, sirs;
They demolished all to the bare bone, sirs.
At this wedding at Ballyporeen.

There was bacon and greens, but the turkey was spoiled.
Potatoes dressed both ways, both roasted and boiled;
Hog's puddings, red herrings-the priest got the snipe,
Culcannon pies, dumplings, cod, cow-heel and tripe.
Then they ate 'till they could cat no more. sirs.
And the whiskey came pouring galore, sirs;
O, how Terry Macmants did roar, sirs,
O, he bothered all Ballyporeen.

Now the whiskey went round, and the songsters did roar,
Tim sung "Paddy O'Kelly," Nell sung "Molly Asthore;"
Till a motion was made that their songs they'd forsake,
And each lad take his sweetheart, their trotters to shake.
Then the piper And couples advancing,
Pumps, brogues, and bare feet fell a prancing;
Such piping, such figuring and dancing,
Was ne'er known at Ballyporeen.

 Now to Patrick, the bridegroom, and Oonagh, the bride.
Let the harp of old Ireland be sounded with pride;
And to all the brave guests, young or old, gray or green,
Drunk or sober, that jigged it at Ballyporcen.
And when cupid shall lend you his wherry,
To trip o'er the conjugal ferry,
I wish you may be half so merry
As we were at Ballyporeen.