Moneygran Pig Hunt, The
DESCRIPTION: "There was racing and chasing in old Moneygran," as pigs bid humans catch them and say they are "Home Rulers and Fenians and Orange pigs too." The "warhawks" pursue, but "the pigs are the winners in old Moneygran."
EARLIEST DATE: Words: 1924 (Northern Constitution); as a song, 1937 (Sam Henry collection)
KEYWORDS: political racing animal
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (1 citation):
SHenry H731, pp. 22-23, "The Moneygran Pig Hunt" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "The Bonnets o' Bonny Dundee" (tune)
cf. "The Bold Tenant Farmer" (subject)
cf. The Barrymore Tithe Victory" (theme)
cf. "The Sow's Triumph Over the Peelers" (theme)
NOTES [216 words]: Said to be based on an incident from 1876, when law officials were sent to the Mercers estate to collect back rent. The tenants loosed their pigs, and the police tried to catch them.
The song is said to be associated with the Land Leagues, a group arising out of the complex interactions between Britain and Ireland. The election of 1868 brought Gladstone to power, but also gave Charles Stewart Parnell a decisive voice in parliament. In 1870, Gladstone passed a Land Act, but the House of Lords rejected it.
The Irish reaction was the Land Leagues, tenant organizations intended to curb excessive rents. They were basically non-violent, but they did resist pressure from landlords in all sorts of creative ways.
The Land Leagues finally faded in 1881 when Gladstone managed to get a true rent reform bill passed (though at the cost of a Coercion Act used to suppress the worst radicals). For further details, see the notes on "The Bold Tenant Farmer."
The reference to the pigs being "Home Rulers and Fenians and Orange" is an observation on the personal politics of those who wanted relief from rents: They ranged from radical Irishmen (Fenians) to conservatives, often Protestant, who wanted Home Rule, to the Ulster Protestants who wanted to be part of Britain but still needed rent reform. - RBW
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