Foster and Allen: Red Haired Mary
First I'd like to wish Mari a very Happy Birthday!
In Ireland the politically correct term for the patronizing, derogatory term 'Tinker' is Traveller. Travellers refer to themselves as Pavees. Though the actual orgin of the Travellers is unknown, it is believed that they are remnants of an ancient class of wandering poets. The term 'Tinker' is believed to have been derived from tinsmith,which used to be their main occupation.The language spoken by the Travellers, called Shelta, tends to support the theory.The language is also called Cammon or Cant, which is a mishmash of ancient languages, including old Greek and Hebrew and Ogham, set in an English style grammar with a Gaelic vocabulary. Often the target of discrimination and harassment there are some 30,000 Travelers living in the margins of Irish society. Preconceptions by employers has resulted in high unemployment among the Travellers so many of them have taken up private enterprise including the music industry.
Written by Sean McCarthy, Red Haired Mary tells us a tale of a fight, a courtship, a donkey's contribution to said fight, and the happy ending. The song tends to add to the notion that Tinkers, or Travellers are hooligans, but as we see in the end, love prevails