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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Broth av a Boy'


This ballad begins: 'I am one that bears an illigant name, / And who dare say 'tis not; / I was born one day in Limerick town, / In a neat little mud-built cot.' It was published by James Lindsay of 11 King Street, Glasgow, and probably sold for one penny.

Although no date has been included on this broadside, it is known that James Lindsay had premises at 11 King Street between 1860 and 1894. It is, therefore, safe to assume that this sheet was printed during these years. Although published in Glasgow, this broadside clearly has an Irish theme. During the years of industrialisation, the Irish population in Scotland reached record levels as countless thousands travelled in search of work. Broadside producers took advantage of this by publishing traditional Irish ballads and news from 'home', hoping to appeal to the large Irish population. Sadly, it also led to broadsides that fuelled resentments towards the Irish by reducing them to hateful stereotypes.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable period of publication: 1860-1880   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(070)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Broth av a Boy'
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