seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Death of Francis Arthur Fahy, Songwriter & Poet

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francis-arthur-fahyFrancis Arthur Fahy, Irish nationalist, songwriter and poet, dies on April 1, 1935. He is probably best remembered as the composer of the evergreen “The Ould Plaid Shawl”. He collaborates with various composers, including Alicia Adélaide Needham, an associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Fahy is born in Kinvara, County Galway, on September 29, 1854 into a family of seventeen, eight of whom survive. His father, Thomas, comes from the Burren area and his mother, Celia Marlborough, is born near Gort, County Galway.

In 1896, Fahy becomes president of the emerging Conradh na Gaeilge (Gaelic League) in London, a position he holds until 1908. He is also a long time member of the London Irish Literary Society. Described as a small, brisk man, his enthusiasm and energy knows no bounds. His most memorable poems and songs include “The Ould Plaid Shawl,” “The Queen of Connemara,” the original “Galway Bay,” and “The Tide Full In.” His publications include The Child’s Irish Song Book (1881), The Irish Reciter (1882), Irish History in Rhyme (1882) and Irish Songs and Poems (1887).

Fahy retires from the Civil Service at the age of 65. He dies at the age of 81 on April 1, 1935.

Author: Jim Doyle

As a descendant of Joshua Doyle (b. 1775, Dublin, Ireland), I have a strong interest in Irish culture and history, which is the primary focus of this site. I am a Network Engineer at The Computer Hut, LLC, which is my salaried job. I am a member of the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (2010-Present, President 2011-2017). I have also served on the City of Little Rock Arts+Culture Commission (2015-2020, Chairman 2017-2018) and the Walnut Valley Property Owners Association board (2015-2020, Secretary 2017-2020).

2 thoughts on “Death of Francis Arthur Fahy, Songwriter & Poet

  1. Thank you, Jim, for posting this. How wonderful that my Uncle Francis is being remembered in so many different ways. It’s 2020 and his music is still being enjoyed and played! Thanks to You Tube the songs you mentioned above can be located and heard. Another one, also on You Tube, deeply reflective of Fahy and his family’s proud Nationalism is called “The Rebel Heart.” It’s a heartbreaker and unique I would think for its recognition of the role his mother played (and not just the men in his family played) in nursing that rebel heart. Again thanks for your contributions here. Glad you”re bringing Francis Arthur Fahy to the shores of America where some of his family now resides. (VM Parker)

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