Fairs that ir nae mair

Fairs that ir nae mair

Ullans Speakers Association - Article 34 - September 2011
Written by Charlie ‘Tha Poocher’ Reynolds

Tha Lammas Fair haes jest went by for anither year - an it got mae switherin aboot tha wye tha fairs hae dee’d oot.

Fair deys wur pairt an percel o guid country folk’s wye o leevin for monies a yeir but noo, in modern, times they ir a kine o a novelty.

As a boady wha haes a wile lakin tae oul rhymes frae ouler times, A taen a wee gleek tae see if a cud fin ony aboot fair deys.

Tha oulest yin A hae wus yin frae Samuel Thamsin caa’d ‘Tha Simmer Fair’ scrieved in 1790. Tha first verse sterts aff lake this:

Here grey-clad farmers, gash an’ grave
Drive in their sleekit hawkeys;
With monie a slee, auld farrand knave,
To sell their heftit brockeys;
An’ jockey louns, sae gleg an’ gare
Wi boot be-deckit legs,
To glow’r an’ drink, cheat, lie an’ swear
An sell their glossy raigs
Come here this day.

Anither boady frae Bellamena wha scrieved aboot tha fair wus nane ither nir Bab M’Keen wha in 1909 toul aboot a wee lass gane tae a Hirin Fair, an paints tha picture lake this:

Wee Jenny came intae the hirin’ fair,
She wasna juist oot o’ place;
But she had a wee notion o’ juist bein’ there
Tae show aff hir trimmins an’ lace.
She wannered aboot for an’ oor or twa,
In a desolate kin’ o’ a wye;
An’ although she lucked weel, an’ maist extra braw,
The laddies juist passed hir by.

Then later on - an a bit nearer tae tha time A wus boarn - John Clifford, tha rhymer frae roon aboot Larne, scrieved aboot tha fair.

The corn is stacked, the prittas dug,
The cattle housed a’ neat an’ snug.
November’s breath is in the air
An’ brings yince mair Larne’s Hirin’ Fair.
Frae ivery farm for miles aroon
The lads an’ lasses mak’ the toon.
Wi’ shiney boots an’ shiney faces,
They seek mair wages an’ fresh places.
The past six months they’ve worked like mad
For maisters, middlin’ guid or bad;
Some weel-fed, happy an’ respected,
But ither craiturs, starved, neglected.
Yet on this happy day o’ cheer
They soon forget the past half-year
An’ flock in droves for guid or hill
Tae Cross Street, near the Larne Fair-hill.

Aff coorse these rhymes jest remind iz o tha wye things wur for oor ain folk in tha bygane times an wiles A wunner if progress is aa its craaked up tae be.

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