From the recording Timber And Stream
© Pecker Dunne
Sonya Baughman: vocals, recorder
Mark Clavey: lead vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, hammered dulcimer
A song popular among Irish travelers, about a man named John Sullivan (surprise!), the son of a wealthy North Cork farming family who gave up his fortune to marry a tinker girl named Connors. It was composed among the travelling community and sung principally by them, and recorded by a Wexford man, Pecker Dunne, himself a traveler and a cousin of the Connors. Although it is said that he wrote the song, it seems it was there before he was born. Pecker's cousin, Mary McGrath, a heartstopping singer with an incredible repertoire of great (and very rare) old songs, says the song was there before either of them and has been singing it before Pecker was big enough to sing. "Trip to Erin" is a jig written by Mark Clavey.
Sullivan's John, to the road you've gone far away from your native home. You've gone with a tinker's daughter far along the road to roam. Sullivan's John, you won't stick it long 'til your belly will soon go slack, and your traipsing the road with a mighty load and a toodle-box on your back.
I met Katy Coffee with her neat baby behind on her back strapped on, and in her hand an old ash-plant for to beat the donkey on. Inquiring at every poor farmer's door as along the road they went - oh, where could they find an old pot to mend? And where could they swap an ass?
There's a hairy ass there in the County Clare in a place they call Spancil Hill, where my brother James got a rap of a hames and poor Paddy they tried to kill. They loaded him into an old ass and cart while big Kate and Mary looked on. Oh, bad cess to the day that I went away to join with a tinker's band.
Sullivan's John, to the road you've gone, &c