Now here’s a story sure to charm, Of a noble captain and his sinking swan
Lost in folklore changed by time, A ripping yarn that will stretch the mind Old Donald Drake was a man of steel, A captains ticket, a trusty keel Where all his life just these and Ale, His ship a Hooker, no gleaming gem But to him much more, his heaven his hell, A name so apt as to cause disbelief For the Black Swan herself was an ugly beast, It was mostly coal that filled her bows And its dust and dirt marked her deep inside, The captain’s too was marked by soot From his blackened cap to his sailors boots, This look he suited and as soon came true The Dirty Duck as his nickname grew.
Folklore starts with a living tale, Of a dirty duck and his life of sail Where legends grow the facts are lost, And myth becomes with time embossed
And so is true for our captains demise, At the hands of wind and a failing tide That fateful night was Xmas eve, One century hence when the seas did heave
The Swan was full of finest ale, The bows were creaking in a winter’s gale From Bristol port he had set out, To service Belfast’s real ale drought
The Irish sea was passed with ease, But in Belfast Lough with a growing breeze His luck ran out and the captain’s failed, Some say because of the love of ale
At Kinnegar a bar of sand, Delivered Drake to the Promised Land Or maybe not as legends grow, And myth distorts what people know
For now when Kinnegar folk are asked, They say his fate was astride a cask Drifting off towards the moon, Singing loud an old folk tune
Whether true or whether not, The Swans lost cargo marked a spot For casks of ale both rare and fine, Drifted shorewards and just in time Were saved from peril against the rocks, By some thirsty men from the Kinnegar docks
From far and wide they came to gloat, About the Dirty Duck and his sunken boat The casks washed up and cleaned and tapped, Were quickly savoured chap by chap
As Christmas day both came and went, With ale to help and tongues not spent The story grew and myth began, The legend now was close at hand
The press of course would have its say, With presses hot on Christmas day Newsletter, Wig and Telegraph, Would toast the Duck and its howling gaff
But paper men should well look out, For the power of drink when its handed out For by the time the presses ran, Distorted facts and shaking hands Had grown the Duck beyond a man
Tales of daring would without, Due of course to a cask of stout The Dirty Duck a hero now, Must have a shrine to his great renown
So as you stand and look around, Although the thought may be profound This place, this warmth, this atmosphere, Is a lasting memorial to a love of beer
Now rest a while in this hallowed ground, And get off your arse and buy a round!