I can tell you exactly who Andy Gaw was. Someone else on the thread said, correctly, that he often gave out coins, the old pennies, to children, as he wandered through town. He was very popular and people greeted him with a certain kind of awe. He was not some notorious criminal or anything like that. That connotation probably arose because of the song lyrics, but they do not refer to him as being lawless, rather they mean that Cork is so rebellious that even Andy Gaw could be elected Mayor. I knew him and saw him daily. He died sometime in the 1970s. He lived on Fair Hill itself, up near Knockpogue Avenue, and was a short little man who had difficulty with his speech. I never heard him speak and it appeared that he was unable to. He would wear one of those grey long coats, often worn by older men in Cork at that time. He was a lovely man and lived, I think, into his late 80s. It is a pity that there seem to be no photograpjs of him about, but he must have been photographed many times as he was a well-known character and always in town. He generally tended to be seen around Princes St and the Market, but could be seen anywhere.
Fair Hill is right, his name was Andrew Egan, lived on the north side. As well as a speech impediment, he also had “the shakes”.Used to collect pennies from adults in pubs, etc. and hand them out to children.
And this story will make you laugh regardless of whether it’s true or not.
I remember Andy. He would have brand new shiny pennies he would give us and then our parents would give him a shilling.
There was a great story about him clashing with a Priest who wanted Andy to mind his horse while he went into a meeting with the Bishop. Andy was willing to do it for “a few bob” but the Priest didn’t want to pay. Andy, he said, “if you don’t stay there and mind my horse I’ll get God to stick you to the ground.”
To which Andy replied, “Why don’t you get God to stick the horse to the ground?”