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Track 5

The Old Triangle

A hungry feeling came o'er me stealing
And the mice were squealing in my prison cell.
The old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

In the early morning, a screw was bawling,
Saying get up you bowsey and clean out your cell.
The old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

In the female prison there are seventy five women
And it's there amongst them, I would like to dwell.
And the old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

I wish to Jaysus, they'd raise my wages,
From one and nine to two pounds ten.
And the old triangle, went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

The judge lay sleeping, Skinner Mac lay weeping,
For he was thinking of his girl Sal.
And the old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

Copyright: Brendan Behan

A long time favourite of mine and probably best associated with Ronnie Drew. I heard Luke Kelly do it years ago and it stayed deep in my head ever since. We were backstage at a festival in the USA with Ronnie Drew years ago when an American band, who shall remain un-named, did a version of this before Ronnie was about to go on. His reaction was enough to tell us never to approach it when he was in the vicinity and I'm sure the band never did again either.

We sing a different line in the last verse as Mick Sheehan once told us that the song was written around the time of a hanging while Brendan Behan was doing time in Mountjoy Prison. Mick's father was also in Mountjoy at the time on the same charge, membership of an illegal organisation, and passed on the story to Mick. My singing on it has also been influenced by Mick Sheehan's singing style.

Lyrics and notes compiled by Denny Bartley.