Danny Boy could soon be played every day in Limavady, Co Derry, if campaigners have their way.
The first recorded reference to the melody was in 1851, when Limavady woman, Jane Ross heard it being played by a blind harpist and sent it to a music publisher.
Local Councillor Anne Brolly wants several different versions of Danny Boy including performances by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Bing Crosby to be played every day.
The campaign is gaining momentum and they hope to make it a reality by 2013, when neighbouring Derry will become UK City of Culture. Brolly thinks that Limavady should make more of its association with the song as it could raise the profile of the town.
She told the Derry Journal: “Danny Boy is the most inclusive tune in the world. No matter where you go people know it. When I was in Africa and when they heard I was Irish, they started to hum the tune! The question is, who hasn’t sung ‘Danny Boy’?
“We would have no shortage of artists if we were to play it 365 days of the year. No-one has what we have – ‘Danny Boy’. Derry would love to have it and Donegal too, but it’s ours and we must do something with it!”
Not everybody is keen on the idea. Some people are worried that it will make a mockery of their town. However, Brolly remained upbeat. She said: “There are too many councillors giving reasons why we shouldn’t do it, but it’s for three minutes, once a day.”
The local Council will weigh up the costs of the proposal. A spokesman said: “We are looking forward to future discussions with the City of Culture Company and Derry City Council on their draft programme of events,” said the spokesperson.
“Obviously with Limavady being the home of ‘Danny Boy’, the 2013 City Of Culture programme provides a great opportunity to ensure that ‘Danny Boy’ receives the international recognition it deserves.
“We look forward to working with both bodies in delivering a programme of events over the next 12-18 months which reflects the history and culture of the wider North West region.”
The lyrics to Danny Boy were written by Fred Weatherly, but his song was not a hit until he put it to the tune of ‘Londonderry Air’ after his sister in law sent him the sheet music.
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