Belfast Telegraph

Barnbrack's new turn with Mickey Marley's Roundabout

The famous Mickey Marley’s Roundabout is getting set to rumble again as top folk group Barnbrack hit the comeback trail.

The group had a hit with the ballad about the little man and his horse-drawn travelling carousel who delighted generations of children.

Mickey died six years ago and his horse went to the big stable in the sky soon afterwards.

But one of the city’s favourite characters lives on in a song written by Seamus Robinson in 1976 when the roundabout was still a familiar sight on city street corners — a haven for children to ride at 10p a go. The refrain of the song will echo out again at the Theatre At The Mill in Mossley, Newtownabbey, on Saturday, November 5.

“There will be fireworks when we return to the stage after too long an absence,” said Jimmy McPeake, who is one of the three Barnbrack originals — the others are Alex Quinn and Eoin McMahon.

They had other hits down 25 years including Belfast and The Fly, but Barnbrack will be associated evermore with Mickey and his roundabout.

The song was so popular it became a street rhyme for children.

“We knew him well in the old days,” said Alex.

“There should be a plaque up to him at his old stand in Royal Avenue. The police were always reluctant to move him on, never mind the traffic jams, because the kids loved him and his horse and his carousel.”

It’s people power that is persuading Barnbrack to return to the spotlight after an absence of eight years.

“We get letters every week asking us to come out of retirement,” revealed McMahon. “So, here we are. We hope Mickey will be looking down on us at Mossley.”

Also playing will be Ann Breen, Crawford Bell and Morris Crum.


Barnbrack is a play on the name of the fruit bread Barmbrack and was made up of Alex Quinn, Jimmy McPeake and Owen McMahon. The group separated in 2003 after the death of Quinn’s wife, Deirdre, aged only 55. The band’s only noted national chart success was with the single Belfast. It described the feelings felt by an expatriate, who is planning to return to the city he left behind. It entered the UK singles chart in March 1985 and reached No.45.

Do you have fond memories of Mickey Marley’s Roundabout? Let us know in the comments below.

Belfast Telegraph


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