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[Note 306.1] David Brookes says (i)  that Irish navvies were often concentrated at bridge and tunnel workings in order to avoid fighting between them and the English . The lines "The noise of our tools brave boys, does make the valleys ring / We will drive our piles and bore our holes, by one, by toe, by four" are suggestive of that sort of work.
(i) Brookes, David The Railway Navvy: That Despicable Race of Men. (Newton Abbot, David & Charles, 1983) p

[Note 306.2] Navvying was very hard work; even seasoned agricultural labourers (as Irishmen seeking work on the railway mostly were) found that, at first, they could only work part of a day until they had built up the stamina required.

 

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