Mickey Marley’s Roundabout
A Belfast Legend
Mickey Marley and his roundabout are woven into the fabric of Northern Ireland’s tortured history and generations of Belfast folk, catholic and protestant alike will have fond memories of grumpy old Mickey and his horse drawn roundabout.
As a child I remember vividly riding on his roundabout one glorious summers day in the Woodvale Park and this memory always brings a smile to my face. Life was simple and innocent back then and the joy of a ride soothed my childhood soul and the world seemed not so scary for a few short moments.
Thank you for the memories Mickey!
Mickey Marley Story
Mickey Marley (died 28 April 2005) was a street entertainer from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Born in the Markets area of Belfast, but spending most of his life on the Grosvenor Road in the Falls area of West Belfast, Marley was a common sight in Belfast City Centre for over forty years.
Drawn by his horse Joey Marley would tour the streets of Belfast with his hobby-horse roundabout. When he retired he sold the roundabout to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
His local fame was enhanced by a recording of the song “Mickey Marley’s Roundabout” (written by Belfastman Seamus Robinson) which was a popular children’s request on BBC Radio Ulster. BBC Northern Ireland also made a documentary on his life. The 1973 film followed Marley’s everyday life, against the backdrop of the heavy British Army presence on the streets of Belfast during the early years of the Troubles
Mickey Marley’s Roundabout – Barnbrack
Lyrics to Micky marleys roundabout
- Micky Marley had a wee horse
- He kept it at the back of the house of course
- It wouldn’t eat grass and it wouldn’t eat hay
- But it would eat sugarlumps all day
- Micky got wood and wheels for a start
- Then he sat down and made a wee cart
- He hammered and he hammered and he foutered about
- Until he had built a roundabout
- Round and round and up and down,
- Through the streets of Belfast town,
- All the children laugh and shout,”
- “For here comes mickys roundabout”
- And then he went from street to street
- A penny a time and pick your seat
- A hobby horse or a motorcar
- Jump on son and hold the bar
- The children’s faces smile with glee
- Laughs and smiles a sight to see
- You haven’t got a penny and your ma’s gone out
- You can still get on his roundabout
- But then alas to his dismay
- The roundabout was burnt one day
- Poor Micky lost everything he had
- And all the children were so sad
- But his friends they gathered round
- From every part of Belfast town
- They hammered and they hammered and they fouterd about and built him a brand new roundabout
- Hobby horses don’t get old
- I’m winter beds they all feel the cold
- But Micky knows each winter pass
- The roundabout is still at last
- No more we’ll hear the happy sounds
- Of his roundabout in Belfast town
- We thank the horse and the wee small man
- For the joy they spread across the land
- (Chours) x2
Showman Mickey Marley’s funeral
The funeral of one of Belfast’s best known characters Mickey Marley, immortalised in a Barnbrack song, was being held today.
Mr Marley, who was made famous in Barnbrack’s hit single Mickey Marley’s Roundabout, died last Thursday. He was in his mid 80s.
Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Peter’s Cathedral this morning followed by cremation at Roselawn.
Mr Marley, who lived in the Grosvenor Road area, and his horse-drawn roundabout was a familiar sight on the city’s streets for decades.
After leaving school at a young age, he saved up to buy his first pony and his roundabout was a huge success, first in the Falls area, then Belfast city centre and beyond.
After Sean McRobin, of local band Barnbrack, penned a song about him he became a local celebrity.
He became so well known that during a trip to Stormont in the 1970s, Prime Minister James Callaghan got his driver to stop so he could have a word with him.
His roundabout is currently being restored to its former glory in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra
Source: Belfast Telegraph