In 1959 when Johnny
Cash was in Ireland he asked his Irish contacts if there was
anywhere he could go to capture the true beauty of
Ireland. He was advised to go to the Vee Pass on the
Knockmealdown mountains outside Clogheen in South Tipperary.
On his second last day in the country John Cash arranged for a car to
take him to the famous Vee and it is widely believed in the locality
that it was on this day as he stood looking out at the extraordinary
valley that he started to compose "Forty Shades of
said afterwards that he was unable to get the memory of the
beautiful valley between the Knockmealdown mountains and and the
Galtee mountains out of his mind. He completed the song in
1961. There has been much debate about who wrote this song and
when. Cash gives two dates 1959 and 1961 - reflecting the
time he started to write the song at The Vee and the year he recorded it.
to this Youtube video
of the man himself stating that he wrote it in 1959 and then he
responds to a friendly pantomime-like heckle from the audience
with his family!!
You can listen to
the full song again on the video below
in which he says 1961. Lyrics are
at the end of this page.
When you have watched the videos below, (including a terrific video
of the Vee Road) visit the Clogheen
website and read Bill
O'Halloran's own emotional story of his visit to the Vee in Clogheen,
A section of the View from the Vee Road in South Tipperary
(© Kay Caplice Photography)