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Locals and visitors join in an impromptu dance during a visit to Spancilhill by a group of Americans with Irish Ancestry, who are touring a number of well known locations in Ireland which are connected with songs which they sing regularly sing back home in Michigan USA as part of their Irish Pub Runners Musical and Singing Group. Photograph by John Kelly

WATCH: US visitors enjoy singsong at iconic Spanchilhill


A LARGE group of Americans visited the Cross of Spancilhll this week, part of a folk group from Michigan that travels to places they know of from songs.

Local man Michael Brohan said the visit shows the extent of the reach of the song.

Visiting musicians drink a toast during a visit to Spancilhill by a group of Americans with Irish Ancestry, who are touring a number of well known locations in Ireland which are connected with songs which they sing regularly sing back home in Michigan USA as part of their Irish Pub Runners Musical and Singing Group.
The locals rolled out the red carpet of welcome for the visit to Spancilhill by the group of Americans

“People know the song from the likes of Christy Moore and the Pogues and the great Robbie McMahon probably made it famous. It was a poem in the beginning, people think of it as a song but it was a poem at the start by an emigrant who went to America.

“Robbie McMahon brought it to life in song and since then it’s been taken up by a lot of famous Irish singers, Christy Moore, the Pogues, the Dubliners, everyone sings it, it’s probably the most recognised ballad from Ireland.

“Anywhere I’ve been around the world when people have a sing song Spancilhill is one of the first songs that come to mind.”

Michael said that the famous song is potentially something that could be used to entice tourists, particularly Irish Americans, to the area.

Locals and visitors join in an impromptu dance during the visit to Spancilhill by the group of Americans.
A glass is raised during a visit to Spancilhill by the group members.

“It’s probably an untapped source of tourism in the area. I’ve often passed the Cross of Spancilhill and I’ve seen people in hired cars pulling in there to take pictures, looking at the words of the song.

“I’ve seen people playing music at the mural of Robbie McMahon, it’s probably an untapped source of tourism if it was promoted more with Irish Americans. It’s great to see them coming.”

The Uisce Beatha went down nicely.