In a 1946 BBC broadcast, repeated on Radio 4 on 24th July 1980, James Stephens said that his friend James Joyce told him he’d learned the song from his grandfather, that it was the world’s best loved song and that only he knew it. Stephens said that he and Joyce were outside a Paris café when Joyce sang it to him, and he learned it on one hearing – “A knack I have since lost.”
I did the same. It would be interesting to hear that broadcast again and see how close I got. The Nidderdale photograph was taken by Janina Holubecki.