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This song is based on a true story. Patrick McCafferty was born in Mullingar, Co. West Meath, and in October 1860 enlisted at the age of seventeen in the 32nd Regiment. He was found guilty Liverpool Assizes and was hanged on January 11th, 1862 for killing two officers. It was of course very popular amongst the military and it was believed that it was a chargeable offence to sing it. It has often been found in oral tradition with many versions coming to light in the latter half of the 20th century. The tune is used for other songs, such as “Lord Franklin”, “Early early in the Spring”, “The Croppy Boy” and by extension “Bob Dylan’s Dream”.