Magherafelt May Fair


The Pride of Erin Céilí Band, led by All-Ireland fiddle champion Sean Nugent, was held in high esteem throughout Ireland. Sean, from Lack in County Fermanagh, was a vibrant, energetic, and fun-loving man who adored the music. On a recording issued by Outlet Records in 1977, he and the band played this great march. The lyrics of this song, sung by Sean's daughter Rosemary in her County Fermanagh accent, give us a clear picture of the Magherafelt May Fair:

'I am a nice wee bouncing girl,
And my age it is scarce sixteen,
And when I'm dressed all in my best
Sure I look like any queen...

On the first of May I will make my way,
To the Magherafelt May Fair...

My mother cautioned me going out
Do not stay long in town
For if you do, your father and I,
On you we will surely frown.
Be sure to shun bad company
And of young men beware,
How nice you be, don't make too free
At the Magherafelt May Fair!'

Listening to those All-Ireland champion band members play along with Rosemary's singing, one can sense the exuberance and pride that they felt playing their music. For this collection, the march is played by Sean Nugent's son Larry on the flute, accompanied by Pat Broaders on the bouzouki.


Séamus Connolly
Boston College Libraries

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Nugent, Larry (flute) and Broaders, Pat (bouzouki), “Magherafelt May Fair,” The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, accessed July 24, 2024,