Gerry Moran - and Pat Wall’s Brewery Ballad

I have a soft spot for the brewery; my mother worked there for a while, as did my father plus I am partial to the local brew: a pint of Smithwicks. A man who is even more partial to Smithwick’s brewery is local musician and songwriter Pat Wall.

I have a soft spot for the brewery; my mother worked there for a while, as did my father plus I am partial to the local brew: a pint of Smithwicks. A man who is even more partial to Smithwick’s brewery is local musician and songwriter Pat Wall.

Pat gave 30 years of his life working in the brewery which, after 303 years (and we have all the three’s there), will close its doors this coming December. Pat worked in the lab – as a beer-tester. And got paid for it! I wouldn’t have minded a job like that except I’d probably have done more tasting than testing.

I bumped into Pat at the Monday night trad-session in Cleere’s Bar. Pat sang a song that he recently composed and which he will record and launch next month.

The song is called: ‘Changes Are A-Brewing’ and is about the place that Pat gave thirty years of his life to: ‘The Brewery’. I was very taken with the song and the sentiments expressed in it, for all the reasons mentioned above, but also because it captures the passing of an institution that was ‘part of who we are’, to quote Pat, and which literally put Kilkenny on the international map, not least with its ruby, red brew ‘Kilkenny’. Pat has very kindly given me the words of his ballad which he will be performing live in his various haunts over the next few weeks.

The clanging of the bottles and kegs

Will ne’er be heard no more

The clip-clop of the Clydesdales

Is now cast into folklore

The hooter blast

That called to work

Is now silent in the factory yard

Technology, for what it’s worth,

Has played its fateful card

For three hundred and three long years

She served us very well

Through struggle and strife

She stood the test

And the truth to you I’ll tell

Many people, they have worked there

When malt and hops did fill the air

But progress brewed up that final storm

And laid the factory bare

Chorus

To you and me

That was the brewery

Her passing has left a scar

It must not become a memory

It’s part of who we are

The monks who prayed within her walls

Are now lost in the mists of time

The coopers and the draymen

The ale and the barley wine

Future generations

Came too late to carry on

That noblest of traditions

Soon to be long gone

Chorus

But we won’t forget, in years to come

The legacy she has made

And at each social gathering

A parting glass we’ll raise

To say farewell to an era

The likes we’ll never see again

When work was more than just a job

Done with loyalty to the end

Chorus