Theresa O’Connor

Fairmount Hill

Track 10 on the Dropkick Murphys' latest album, The Meanest of Times, is “Fairmount Hill.” They took “Spancil Hill,” a traditional song named for and about a place in Co. Clare, and switched it around a bit to be about Hyde Park, a neighborhood of Boston. They changed the last verse the most. Do you recognize one of the names in it?

I dreamt I knelt and kissed her as in the days of yore
“Ah, Johnny, you’re only joking, as many’s the time before”
I dreamt I’d fought a violent war for the hand of this darling gal
Against an angry jealous foe by the name of Danny Gill
Then the cock clock it crew rang in the morning, he crew it rang both loud and shrill
When I awoke in California, many miles from Spancil Fairmount Hill

You see, my aunt & godmother (whose birthday's today, incidentally) lived on Fairmount Ave. in Hyde Park for many years, and raised her five children there. The youngest, my cousin Danny Gill, sings in The Old Brigade, a Boston-area traditional Irish band.

The Old Brigade, at Fenway Park

The Old Brigade, at Fenway Park.

You can listen to The Old Brigade sing “Spancil Hill” in the writeup of it in my Irish History in Song series. If you listen closely, you might catch Danny at one point changing “Spancil Hill” to “Savin Hill,” one of Boston’s other Irish neighborhoods.