Maggie Murphy

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Maggie Murphy: was born in Tempo, Co Fermanagh, and has lived in and around that area all her life.  Her singing was first recorded for the BBC in 1952 by Seán O'Boyle and Peter Kennedy at the house of Mr Bob Woods at Bellyreragh where she was working in service.  "Sean was married to the daughter of Mrs Woods and he had heard that I sang while I was milking the cows and coming away from work."

Maggie spent her working life in service so it's maybe not surprising that she has several songs which feature serving maids/boys.  Maggie says of her days in service, "That time you were hired at a hiring fair.  Tempo fair wasn't a hiring fair - Trillick was a hiring fair and Enniskillen was a hiring fair.  It was 10th of May and 10th of November, every six months and you worked then for six months in a place and if you left before the six months then they kept your wages.  So you had to stay there whether you were starved or not.”

“My father was a good singer surely, but he wasn't as good a singer as my mother and you could never learn a song from him, but I learned the whole songs from my mother singing them, and that was at home.  She'd sing them, then I'd sing along with her.  Then if I'd get them wrong she'd write them down for me. She got her songs from her mother, but I never knew my Grannie.”

Part of the booklet notes, written by Keith Summers, to the Musical Traditions Records CDs The Hardy Sons of Dan (MTCD331-2)