The Tinkerman's daughter


The small birds were lining the bleak autumn branches
Preparing to fly to a far sunny shore
When the tinkers made camp at a bend in the river
Returning from the horse fair in Ballinsloe

Now the harvest being o’er, a farmer went walking
Along the Faele River that borders his land
And ’twas there he first saw her twixt firelight and water
The tinkerman’s daughter, the red-headed Ann

Next morning he rose from a night without resting
He went straight to the tinker and made himself known
And at a pub in Listowell they worked out a bargain
To the tinker a pony, to the daughter a home

Where the trees cast their shadows along the Faele River
The tinker and the farmer, they inspected the land
And a white gelding pony was the price they agreed on
For the tinkerman’s daughter, the red-headed Ann

Now the wedding soon o’er, the tinkers departed
They were eager to travel on south down the road
But the sound of the iron-shod wheels crunch on gravel
Was as bitter to her as the way she’d been sold

But she tried hard to please him, she did all his bidding
She slept in his bed and she worked on the land
But the walls of that cabin pressed tighter and tighter
Around the tinkerman’s daughter, the red-headed Ann

As white as the hands of a priest or the hangman
The snow spread it’s blanket the next Christmas round
The tinkerman’s daughter slipped out from her bedside
Turned her back to the land and her face to the town

It’s said someone saw her at dusk that same evening
She was making her way out by Lyreacrompane
And that was the last that the settled folk saw her
The tinkerman’s daughter, the red-headed Ann

Where the north Kerry hills cut the Faele at Listowell
At a farm on its banks lives a bitter old man
And he swears by the shotgun he keeps by his bedside
That he’ll kill any tinker that camps on his land

And yet, when he hears iron-shod wheels crunch on gravel
Or a horse in the shafts of a bright caravan
His day’s work tormented, his night’s sleep demented
By the tinkerman’s daughter, the red-headed Ann


Song Clip