In the final three weeks of 2014, Martin Doyle abandoned the Irish winter for a well earned vacation in the form of a first time visit to New Zealand and the unique experience of Christmas in a sunny southern summer. After an epic thirty-six hour journey via London, Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Martin finally arrived in Christchurch which is in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. During his stay in Christchurch, Martin was involved in a couple of informal music sessions that were held at The Lotus-Heart vegetarian restaurant.
Martin also enjoyed a visit with local musicians Jade Bell and John Wood who live at Fisherman’s Point at the southern tip of Lake Ellesmere. Jade and John perform as a folk duo around Christchurch and were also involved in The Lotus-Heart sessions.
After a delicious meal that was kindly prepared by Jade, the musicians played tunes on the patio in the shade of a lovely old tree. Here is a snippet from that session – a sweet jig known as Father O’Flynn.
Music is such a powerful medium for portraying feelings of every kind and, based on the tune Father O’Flynn, the man himself must have been a sweet and likeable sort of character. The lyrics of the song seem to reflect that sentiment as well and make a very creative and humorous piece of poetry. So that you have no excuse not to sing along with John, Jade and Martin, we have included the lyrics below.
Of priests we can offer a charmin variety,
Far renownd for learnin and piety;
Still, Id advance ye widout impropriety,
Father O’Flynn as the flowr of them all.
cho: Heres a health to you, Father O’Flynn,
Slainte and slainte and slainte agin;
Powrfulest preacher, and tenderest teacher,
And kindliest creature in ould Donegal.
Dont talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
Famous forever at Greek and Latinity,
Dad and the divils and all at Divinity
Father O’Flynn d make hares of them all!
Come, I venture to give ye my word,
Never the likes of his logic was heard,
Down from mythology into thayology,
Truth! and conchology if hed the call.
Och Father O’Flynn, youve a wonderful way wid you,
All ould sinners are wishful to pray wid you,
All the young childer are wild for to play wid you,
Youve such a way wid you, Father avick.
Still for all youve so gentle a soul,
Gad, youve your flock in the grandest control,
Checking the crazy ones, coaxin onaisy ones,
Lifting the lazy ones on wid the stick.
And tho quite avoidin all foolish frivolity;
Still at all seasons of innocent jollity,
Where was the playboy could claim an equality,
At comicality, Father, wid you?
Once the Bishop looked grave at your jest,
Till this remark set him off wid the rest:
“Is it lave gaiety all to the laity?
Cannot the clergy be Irishmen, too?
A little more research turned up some information regarding the life and activities of Father O’Flynn.
Priest Father O’Flynn was famous for his pioneering work at overcoming speech defects such as stammering. He was also legendary for running a school for drama, music and philosophy above a sweet factory in Cork. Being a great lover of Shakespeare, he turned many people with speech problems into actors and actresses. (Source)
Here’s another version of Father O’Flynn – complete with pipes and dancers: