Northern Ireland

Plan to pipe out Danny Boy in Limavady

Barry McGuigan
Image caption Danny Boy was often sung at the fights of boxer Barry McGuigan

'Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling' is the refrain and if Sinn Fein councillor Anne Brolly gets her way the people of Limavady will be hearing a lot more of it.

Ms Brolly has proposed that different versions of the song (also known as the Londonderry Air) be played in the town once a day.

She says Danny Boy is known worldwide and that Limavady should be proud of its links to the ballad.

"I think it is a brilliant idea, this tune is known by anybody and everybody all over the world," she said.

"It is probably the most popular tune in the world.

"No matter where you go if you go to Africa and the Massi Tribe, they sing Danny Boy.

"We want to bring attention to Limavady and our borough.

"The tune was played by an old, blind fiddler in Limavady; the tradition at that stage was the oral tradition and we had Jane Ross who was the scribe and was able to write down the music."

Edwin Stevenson, a UUP councillor in Limavady, is not enamoured by Ms Brolly's plan to celebrate the song, however.

"It is known around the world and popular in Limavady as well, but no matter how much you like it you could get fed up with it and I think that is what we are concerned about," he said.

"Remember people have to live there, work there, do we really want to hear it every day?"

Peter Jack, a former chairman of the Danny Boy Festival in Limavady, said it was great the song was getting attention as a result of the proposal, but agreed that if any song is played often it can lose its magic.

"Every time I hear Danny Boy I reach for a tissue because it makes me so sad," he added.

"I don't want mass weeping on the streets of Limavady."