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Ouray’s Danny Boy Connection

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Mount Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains is partially hidden in the haze, seen from the Dallas Divide near Ridgway on Sunday,
Danny Boy

You don’t get more Irish than Danny Boy. And yet, without a Colorado link, that poignant combination of words and music might never have happened. Frederick Weatherly wrote the poem after he lost his father and son within three months of each other.

He intended to write a song, never quite found the melody. But in the San Juan Mountains, his Irish-American sister-in-law Margaret did. In her Ouray cabin, she read the poem, and something clicked. She remembered the traditional Londonderry Air her father played, and suggested Frederick put the two together.

Though Danny Boy was a hit, Margaret Weatherly never got any credit. After decades of poverty and toil, she died at the state mental hospital in Pueblo, largely forgotten. But her gift to Ireland and the world plays on.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.