Cork born Tim Lyons developed his interest in song in England in the fifties. Moving to Dublin in the sixties he came under the influence of the greats of sean-nós traditional song and began singing himself, and often returned from Fleadhanna laden with guilded trophies. Three years later he was traveling all over England singing in folk clubs.

Moving back to Clare again from London in the seventies he began writing songs himself on topical subjects, and toured with De Danann in the late seventies. In the late eighties he hooked up with Fintan Vallely and toured further and recorded two albums of their own inventions: "Knock, Knock, Knock" in 1991 and "Big Guns and Hairy Drums". Tim now lives in Galway.

Tim singing a short excerpt from Sweet Castlehyde, December 2010

Stage One | Research and Performance of Existing Song

Sweet Castlehyde

It is a typical poem that is written to praise a place or person, in this case the mansion and demesne of Lord Castlehyde in County Cork. What is interesting is the use of vowel rhyming so popular with the old gaelic poets. The poet here presented Castlehyde with the finished poem but was rebuked by him. In a foment of indignation he changed the last line, usually used for high praise, to one of severe insult. Lord Castlehyde had a hump on his back and our brave poet was quick to use this knowledge in his poem.

                 Tim singing The Last Crossing, May 2011

Main image on top: Tim Lyons singing The Góilín, circa 1988. Photograph by Derek Spiers


Tim Lyons

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Stage Two | New Song Composition in the Traditional Style

The Last Crossing

This song is based on a true event which befell the Larne Ferry, The Princess Victoria, on the 31st of January 1953, when she was sunk by a violent storm off the Copeland Islands, not far from the Irish coast. The song is in ballad form, the four-line stanza, and concentrates on the events which destroyed her. It is sung to the air of another old sea song, the Kerry ballad "Lonely Banna Strand".

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