‘A Voice From Out The Crowd’ – published posthumously by the Williams family in 2015 – comprises 30 original songs and poems about County Wexford by Tom Williams.
The book is an invitation to come with the author on a moving musical journey into the beating heart of his native place. They form part of Tom’s legacy to County Wexford.
The reader will be brought on an odyssey. They will be transported back to the sounds and the smells of ‘A Fairday in Taghmon’ (see words below and watch a video of the author singing the song here). They will be led along the narrow Viking streets of Wexford town on the night of its world-famous opera festival. They will be led out to Barntown and up Forth Mountain from where they can look far across the land to Mount Leinster and down to the Saltee islands off the southern coast.
They will be carried to the fishing village of Kilmore Quay to watch the rusting trawlers chug into harbour laden with their spoils from the sea.
They will sit in Croke Park – home of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) – on All-Ireland hurling final day, and feel the pulsating roar of the crowd as the famed Wexford hurler, Nickey Rackard, scores from a 21-yards free.
Tom’s song ‘Cúchulainn’s Son’, a tribute to his hurling hero and a companion to his best-selling book of the same name, is now an anthem sung and played at events throughout the county.
‘A Voice from Out the Crowd’ is a celebration of a county and its people.
Although the book is now limited in availability, it is still possible to purchase a copy at Wexford Book Centre in Wexford Town. It is also the intention of the Williams family, in time, to publish on this website the words of the poems, and the lyrics and chords of the songs that make up ‘A Voice From Out The Crowd’.
‘A FAIRDAY IN TAGHMON’
Before the marts took over in the 1960s, one of southern Ireland’s greatest fairs took place in Taghmon. Twice a month, farmers, buyers and ‘tanglers’ came from all over the southeast to buy and sell cattle, sheep, pigs and horses. The biggest fairs were held on the 2nd and 28th of May when crowds of up to 10,000 people thronged the streets. This song recalls what it was like in the little village on fairday, and recounts some of the characters who enlivened the proceedings.
I’ve been living here in Birmingham since 1946
I’ve worked with Wimpy, Murphy and Lang, I’ve carried my share of bricks.
I took the boat with my cap and coat, when I was just sixteen,
And I don’t give a damn for Birmingham or the places that I’ve been.
And often when I carried a hod or drank my hard-earned pay
I thought of the times I’d left behind, ’twas a sweeter and better day,
For the bobs we earned there were lessons learned, and the growing up was fun,
When we ate bulls eyes, ‘neath the bright May skies, at The Fairday in Taghmon.
It’s harder to remember now, my memory’s dimmed by age,
But names and dates oft prompt me, so I turn back a page,
A page that’s filled with faces of old friends that are gone
With whom I used to barter on a Fairday in Taghmon.
Oh, those fairdays on the second and the twenty-eight of May,
There’d be folks from every barony and county there that day,
The buyers, with fat wallets, from Dublin town would come,
With an eye out for the eejit, on a Fairday in Taghmon.
They’d start their journeys early, from Carne and Ross and Scar,
And you’d hear the creels a rattlin’ on the spring and common car,
As the thrushes chirped a welcome thro’ Harperstown they’d come
And to sell the beast they’d strive all morn’ on a Fairday in Taghmon.
Each farmer tried to place his stock where the buyin’ men would look,
And many had a spot marked out by shop or yard or nook,
There was Banville on the corner, and Lar Roche further on,
Both true and honest dealers on a Fairday in Taghmon.
For calves you went to Sullivan by Ledwith’s shop along,
And for whiteheads, Stephen Martin, sure his name and stock were strong,
And Joe Roche and Tom Crosbie from a stand by the Monicaun,
Bought everything with legs on, at the Fairday in Taghmon.
For Kerry cows ’twas Horan and for shorthorns big Jack Ryan,
Who towered above the tangler like a man from another clime
And many’s the hungry schoolboy and many’s the mother’s son
Did a herding job, for a couple a’ bob, on a Fairday in Taghmon.
The drovers all were out in force, there was Foley from the town
And Josie and John Condon knew Leinster up and down,
They walked the roads of Ireland through counties, one by one,
And they drove them in their thousands from the Fairday in Taghmon.
The eatin’ houses all were full and the pubs were ‘chocker block’,
While one man did the ‘ating, sure another watched the stock,
Breakfast was one and sixpence and halfpenny for the bun,
And for ham and tea ’twas two and three, at the Fairday in Taghmon.
Watt Codd was there and Jack Jones too and the Tuohys, with the dough,
And leadin’ up his horses came the famous Mossy Roe,
And the bargainin’ and the arguin’, and when the day was done,
There was many a happy farmer on a Fairday in Taghmon.
Oh, many men have come and gone and many things have changed,
And the old style way of doing things has all been disarranged,
The Mart, they say is better, but still I miss the fun,
That we had down in Fay Keating’s on a Fairday in Taghmon.