Margaret Barry, better know as Maggie Barry, a native Irish folk singer. Born in Cork City during the early 1900's. she achieved fame and noteriety during her illustrious career.

Maggie Barry-Queen of the Gypsy's

As a child growing up in West Cork i used to be amazed upon seeing Maggie Barry, as she played in Dunmanway during Ballybui horse fair, she was known as the singing tinker woman by the locals at the time. For weeks after everyone would be talking about her.
Years later in the same town at the Parkway Hotel, I had the great pleasure of playing support to her.,
She a a fiddle player accompaning her called, Eblihin Ni Cathain.
Standing by the side of the stage looking on i was, when she shouted " come up here boy and join in, twas a great gig, the audience loved her.
Every now and then she would roar at Sonny Maybury the hotel owner, Sonny bring up another crate of pint bottles of Guinness. At this the audience would roar approval, then she would sing another song playing her banjo at the same time.
During some songs Maggie might let out some expletive or other, to the delight of her audience. wild raptourous aplause would ensue:
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Maggie Barry from Cork City by the Lee

Peter Street in Cork, where Maggie was born
In the middle of a city all at war
Into a family of travellers, a little princess she'd become
While her mam and dad played music in the street, she'd sing along.
Maggie Barry from Cork City by the Lee.

Maggie's mother died when she was only twelve.
Her father got married once again.
Then at sixteen years of age in the middle of a row,
Maggie set out on the road, on her own, there she goes.
Maggie Barry from the banks of the Lee

Play your banjo Maggie, sing a song for me.
As you did on the roads and highways long ago.
You were the gypsy Queen of Ireland.
You were loved by one and all,
Play your banjo Maggie and sing a song for me
Gypsy Queen.
Maggie Barry from the banks of the Lee.

At matches in Croke park.
Killarney Limerick Galway or Cork
She sang at fairs where men fought over pigs.
She even knew Skibberen Piady.
I once saw her trow him a farthing
As he bent his nails, she sang a song
To help him along.
Maggie Barry from Cork City by the Lee.

Maggie fell in love, got married and settled down.
She lived in a caravan near Crossmaglen
When Maggie had a lovely daughter, she needed an extra bob.
Maggie took to the road once again, there she goes.
Maggie Barry from Cork City by the Lee

When Maggie sang her song with a voice so pure and clear
At market squares or village fairs, you could find our Maggie there..
And when she sang in Londons Brazen head in Camden Town
The Ruckous and applause nearly knocked the whole place down
Twas Maggie Barry from Cork City by the Lee.

She crossed the atlantic ocean, and landed in New York.
She sang for all America, the Gypsy Queen from Cork.
Now she's gone from us forever, but her memory will live on.
the Gypsy Queen of Ireland, playing a banjo, singing a song.
Maggie Barry from Cork City by the Lee.


Words & Music by Oliver Kane ©.Revilo Productions.