The Auld Triangle
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"The Auld Triangle" is a song rumoured to be written by Dominic Behan for his brother Brendan Behan, made famous by The Dubliners. Dominic never credited the song to himself on any recordings he made of it. Other rumours suggest it was a prison song to which Behan added verses to but he fact that he never credits himself in writing the song suggests that the true authorship is unknown. The song is featured in his brother Brendan's play The Quare Fellow.
The song is used to introduce the play, a story about the occurrences in a prison (in real life Mountjoy Prison where Behan had once been lodged) the day a convict is set to be executed. The triangle in the title refers to the large metal triangle which was beaten daily in Mountjoy Prison to waken the inmates ("The Auld Triangle goes Jingle Jangle"). The triangle still hangs in the prison at the centre where the wings meet on a metal gate. It is no longer used, though the hammer to beat it is mounted beside it.
The song has taken on a sort of life of its own and has gone beyond its identity as a song in a play, developing into a modern Irish anthem.
As with many Irish ballads, the lyrics have been changed with each passing cover. For example, The Dropkick Murphys' cover condenses the structure into a three-lyric section song with a chorus based on the last two lines of each stanza in the original.
It has been recorded by:
- The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem
- Ian & Sylvia as "The Royal Canal" for their Four Strong Winds album in 1963
- The Dubliners
- The Pogues
- The Doug Anthony Allstars
- Dropkick Murphys
- The High Kings
- Bob Dylan and The Band also recorded a rendition of the song during their Basement Tapes sessions in 1967. This recording is available on bootleg recordings but does not appear on the official Basement Tapes album released in 1975.
- Bert Jansch for his 2006 album The Black Swan
- Jeff Tweedy on his tour DVD Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest
- The Oysterband for their now-deleted 'Alive and Acoustic' recording.
- Eric Burdon (retitled "The Royal Canal")
- Glen Hansard, lead singer of The Frames, and Damien Dempsey, to raise funds for the charity Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
- Patrick Clifford, on Chance of a Start
- Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, and Gabe Witcher for the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) by the Coen Brothers 
It was sung in the short film, "Macbeth Retold", starring James McAvoy, one of the three part ShakespeaRe-Told film produced by the BBC during November 2005.
The Swell Season have included the song in their live performances.
The Frames performed it as the final song of a two-hour concert at the Vic Theater in Chicago on November 23, 2010. They performed the song live on RTÉ television's The Saturday Night Show on December 18 of the same year. Bono joined lead singer Glen Hansard on May 8, 2012 in New York City's The Living Room venue to perform the song.
- "The Frames". 2010.theframes.ie. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- "First Listen: Soundtrack, 'Inside Llewyn Davis'". NPR. 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- "Glen Hansard w/ Bono "The Auld Triangle" on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-11-10.