Traditional Scottish Songs
- Oh, What a Parish!

Dunkeld Cathedral
There is apparently an historical basis for this song, though rather than taking place in Dunkeld in Perthshire (pictured here), it happened in Kinkell in Strathearn, much further south in Perthshire.

   Oh, What a Parish!

Oh, what a parish, a terrible parish
Oh, what a parish is that o' Dunkel';
They hangit their minister, droon'd their precentor,
Dang doon the steeple and fuddled the bell.
The steeple was doon, but the kirk was still staun'in';
So they biggit a lum whaur the bell used tae hang.
A still-pot they got and they brewed Hieland whisky;
On Sundays they drank it and ranted and sang.

Oh, had ye but seen how gracefu' they lookit,
Crammed in the pews - socially joined.
MacDonald the piper struck up in the poopit.
He made the pipes skirl wi' music devine
When drink free'd their care they would curse and they'd swear;
They ranted and sang what they darena weel tell;
"Bout Geordie and Cherlie they bothered fu' rarely,
Wi' whisky they're worse than the Devil himsel'.

When the heart-cheerin' spirit had mounted their garrets,
Tae a ball on the green they a' did ajourn.
The maids in coats kilted then steppit and lilted;
When tired or dry tae the kirk they'd return.
If kirks a' owre Scodand held sic social meetings,
Nae warnin' they'd need frae a far-tinklin' bell,
For kindness and friendship would ca' them thegither,
Far better than roarin' the horrors o' Hell.

Oh, what a parish, a terrible parish.
Oh, what a parish is that o' Dunkel'.
They hangit their Minister, droon'd their Precentor,
Dang doon the steeple and fuddled the bell.
But let me advise ye that mischief there lies,
When neebours are drinkin wi' mair than themselves.
O' yer heart and yer hand try tae keep some command,
Or ye'll end up as bad as the folk o' Dunkel'

Meaning of unusual words:
precentor=an official in a Presbyterian church who leads the singing
Dang doon=pulled down
biggit a lum=built a chimney

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