King O'Toole's Gander (song)

St Kevin and the Gander
℗ 2013 Dick Hogan. From 'Songs from the Repertoire of Dick Hogan'.
St Laurence O' Toole, descendent of King O'Toole
© A.S. Borchert
O'Toole family coat of arms
Public Domain image
Reefert Church - Burial Place of O'Toole Royalty
Courtesy of Visit Wicklow

The following song is taken from the Dúchas Schools’ Collection.

To  view the original text and transcriptions please click here.

A version of the song is available via the Youtube link – this is not connected to the School’s Collection material.

This song was told to Kathleen Gilbane (Aughrimin, Jamestown, Co. Leitrim) by Peter Gilbane.

King O’Toole’s Gander


As St Kevin once was travelling
Through a place called Glendalough
He met with King OToole
And he asked him for a seach
Says the King ‘you are a stranger’
And your face I’ve never seen
But if you want a taste of weed
I’ll lend you my duidin.


Fol de dol the di do
Fol the doll the dee
Fol de dol de di do
Fol the dol the dee


While the Saint was kindling up his pipe
The monarch gave a sigh
‘Is there anything the matter’ says the Saint
That makes you start to cry
Says the King ‘I had a gandher
that was left me by my mother
And the other day he cocked his toes
With some ‘disease’ or other



Are you cryin’ for the gandher?
You unfortunate ould goose
Dry up you tears, In frettin’
Sure sorra much the use.
Says the Saint “What will you give me
If the gandher I’ll survive?”
Says the King “Ill be your servant
As long as Im alive”



“Ill cure him,” says St Kevin
And Ill make him whole and sound
If you’ll give me the taste of land
That the gandher will fly round”
“To be sure,” says the King
Ill give you what you ask”
Altho’ he hadnt the laste intention
Of sticking to the task



The King went to the parlour
To fetch him out the bird
With the very laste intention
Of sticking to his word.
\st Kevin took the gandher
From the arms of the King
He first began to ‘twig’ his beak
and then to stretch his wing



He ‘hushed’ him up into the air
And he flew 30 miles around
“Im thankful to your majesty
For that little bit of ground
So the King to raise a “ruction”
He called the saint a witch
And he sent for his 6 sons
To heave him in the ditch.



“Na bac leis”, says St Kevin
Ill soon settle these young urchins
And he turned the king and his six sons
Into the seven churches
Thus King OToole did suffer
For his dishonest doings
And he left the gandher there
For to guard about the ruins (?)



If you go there on a Summer’s day
Between 12 and 1 o’clock
Youll see the gandher flyin’ round
The Glen of Glendalough
A poor man keeps his word
Much better that folks grander
For the King refused to pay the saint
For caring his ould dead gandher.



ARCHIVAL REFERENCE: The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0210, Page 418

© National Folklore Collection, UCD

Glendalough Heritage Forum does not own, and have not sought permission to use, this Youtube video clip, we are simply providing a link to the resource on Youtube. Please contact the owners/copyright holders if you want to use or require more details concerning any of this footage.

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