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It was Stephen’s Day in Ninety-Nine, the rain was pouring down,
We were off to see the mummers above in Woodford town,
But when we got to Ennis a flood lay ’cross the road.
It must have been the deluge caused the pipes to overflow.
But as we slowly crossed the flood a thought came to my mind.
‘What pipe’ says I ‘can gush so wild? Straight through the road it’s mined.
They may have piled up tarmac with their maps so cleverly drawn.
But that’s no pipe of water, it’s the well of Tobartaoscan.’

Tobartaoscan, Tobartaoscan. Fairest spring on earth’s green lawn.
Hidden now, but never gone, is the well of Tobartaoscan.

My mind drifts back to days gone by. It doesn’t seem too long.
To crag-land and a cottage where houses now in hundreds throng.
Where on hot summer’s dusty track Clare Abbey hay was drawn
And we netted eels and thornybacks at the well of Tobartaoscan.
I remember well on summer’s days when shoes were thrown aside
I’d bring the tea to the meadow or on the hay-float ride,
And as I grew the work did too and we started at the dawn,
And stopped for a sup on our way at the well of Tobartaoscan.


Now tales were told on winters’ nights of piseogs and the Sidhe
And the small fox barked at the bright March moon; the night owl sadly keened.
The birds came in their season, the Corncrake and the Siocan
And the Wren was chased from bush to bush in the crags of Tobartaoscan.
My grandfather was a mighty man. Martin Brennan was his name.
In Nineteen-Four he married here; from Cragbrien Hill he came.
He worked hard at his limekiln and with fork and spade and slean
And he even bested the Black-and-Tans when they came to Tobartaoscan.


My mother and my father too worked hard here for a living
But the small farmer’s days were numbered, ’twas hard to earn a shillin’.
The days of horse and plough and wheel-rake they were gone
And tractors came to the quiet lane that ran by Tobartaoscan.
Now though these days are over, the hard times and the good
That little stream still haunts my dreams in it’s ring of hazelwood.
But, still, I smile in wonder when the rains come pouring down,
And I pity the one who ever tried to tame old Tobar Taoscan.

All content copyright © Philip Brennan 2006