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The Irish in the UK – Ep 245 – Percy French, songwriter, poet, artist, entertainer…

This week…

William Percy French. You might not know the name but you’ll know the songs. “Are Ye Right There Michael?”, “The Mountains of Mourne”, “Phil the Fluter’s Ball” and dozens of others all written over a hundred years ago, some as far back as the 1870s.

Percy, who was born in County Roscommon, wrote of everyday life, relationships, worries and poignantly, the longing for Ireland and home! Despite the age of his lyrics, they still ring true today.

In 1920, aged 65, Percy was performing in the UK when he became unwell. He travelled to meet his cousin, Canon John Richardson, in Formby Merseyside. He sadly died a few days later and was laid to rest there, at St Luke’s Church.

To celebrate his life and works, Gerry Molumby had planned a commemoration at St Luke’s 100 years after Percy’s death. But, like all good things in the last few years, the pandemic stopped that! So 2 years on, the event has finally happened, with songs, readings and a commemorative Blue Plaque.
Gerry, complete with a fashionable Percy French moustache, tells the story of his life. We have guests including Sarah Mangan, Consul General of Ireland, Rev Dr Matt Davis, Vicar of St Luke’s and John Phillips, local historian.

Lots of songs and poems that you’ll know and Daniel O’Donnell sings us out.

For more information…
Formby Civic Society.. www.formbycivicsociety.org.uk
St Luke’s Church… www.stlukesformby.org.uk

Watch the Irish in the UK every Thursday night at 7.30pm on SKY 191 or Freesat 162. Repeated on Tuesday at 1 pm

To advertise in the UK section of the show please call Martin Logan 07808 573 142 alternatively email martinloganmanchester@gmail.com