Fiddlers' Row - a poem by Charlie McCoy
The names of the mining families in the Glendasan Valley and the wider Glendalough area were remembered by former miner, the late Charlie McCoy in his poem Fiddlers’ Row.
With the general rise in population in the mid 19th century and more miners working in the Glendalough area came a demand for housing. The Mining Company of Ireland built houses for their work force, believing that both the miners and the company would benefit. Built in the mid 1850s, a row of houses close to the mining works is reputed to have once housed eight musicians… hence the name… Fiddlers’ Row.
As I strolled through Glendasan valley
one Sunday afternoon,
And oh how sad I was
When I saw that awful ruins,
I gazed upon the silvery stream,
And I watched it flow,
As it winds down through the valley,
And passed by Fiddlers’ Row.
It was there I gazed upon the ruins,
And today I do recall,
When I think of those that lived within,
Fond neighbours one and all.
In the first house there was Egans,
From Nenagh town they came.
Next to that was Stakems,
A famous hurlers name.
McCoys were in the middle
And Kavanagh next to that.
Next was Patrick Bolger
Known as “Trapper Pat”.
Next to him was Paddy White,
A cobbler by trade,
Then Jim Manning and the Wife,
Some jewelry they made.
Last of all was the Morans
They were blacksmiths in the mines
Those I don’t remember,
Gone long before my time.
I think I have named them all
And I hope you’ll understand,
There was nothing left behind them
For there was no wedlock band.
At the launch of the Miners’ Way in June 2019 children from Scoil Chaoimhin Naofa, under the direction of the Principal, Anne Savage, recited Charlie’s poems about the mining activity in the valleys in the 1950s as he remembered it. A number of the children are descended from those mining families.