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  I journeyed to Dublin from far Skibbereen.
With a kit on my back, lashed my shoulders between.
There I soon got employment at making repairs,
In the home of Mc Ginlay – up two flights of stairs.

The poem is a mixture of popular ballad and music-hall recitation in their form. The poem can be interpreted as a clever commentary on ways in which workers engage in what we now call networking. The poet is making some witty connections between occupational networks for tradesmen and the way that these networks might open up opportunities for other connections: such as romance. Poets might view writing as "work," but they also are open to other opportunities that may come along with their writing. "Sullivan Ray" is an unusual form of name. Sullivan or O'Sullivan is a common surname, and particularly associated with west Cork, the region in which Skibbereen is situated. The additional name, such as Ray, is not found nowadays. Maybe there is a Sullivan Ray, but it's more likely that Fenerty just wanted to come up with an Irish-sounding name. A Lilt of Skibbereen is either a version of an existing ballad or a pastiche mock-ballad, built around a journeyman. The central (I) character, Sullivan Ray, probably doesn’t have an existence beyond being the narrator of the poem - whether he is an original creation or borrowed (as I would suspect) from other stories. These names seem to be standardly 'oirish', cyphers rather than real people, particularly as the author may have had no actual knowledge of Skibbereen itself. Fenerty probably made up names like "Sulivan Ray" simply because they sound lyrical and rhyme easily. This poem was not written based on actual events; there are no records of Fenerty ever travelling to these places. Fenerty was a tradesman, and did work with building materials (as suggested by his Certificate of Merit at the Exhibition of 1854), this poem might have incorporated his present employment. Since Fenerty was involved in community affairs upon returning to Nova Scotia, it’s more likely this poem was written abroad. Fenerty spent over six outside of Canada. His employment record might have included general labourer, builder, lumberman, on top of writing and gold digging. The last name of the girl he mentions, McGinlay, is not a common spelling. It is usually spelled McGinley. The characters in this poem are fictitious, and the only true part would probably be his employment.
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