Category Archives: Leinster

Molly Malone

Early on a Sunday morning,
High upon a gallows tree,
Kevin Barry gave his young life
for the cause of liberty.
Only a lad of eighteen summers,
Yet there’s no one can deny,
That he went to death that morning,
nobly held his head up high.

“Shoot me like an Irish soldier,
Do not hang me like a dog;
For I fought for Ireland’s freedom
On that dark September morn,
All around that little bakery,
Where we fought them hand to hand.
Shoot me like an Irish soldier,
For I fought to free Ireland.”

Just before he faced the hangman,
In his lonely prison cell,
British soldiers tortured Barry
Just because he would not tell
All the names of his companions
Other things they wished to know;
“Turn informer, and we’ll free you.”
Proudly Barry answered, “No !”

“Shoot me like an Irish soldier,
Do not hang me like a dog;
For I fought for Ireland’s freedom
On that dark September morn,
All around that little bakery,
Where we fought them hand to hand.
Shoot me like an Irish soldier,
For I fought to free Ireland.”

Down by the Liffeyside or Anna Liffey

Written by Peadar Kearney.

Twas down by Anna Liffey, my love and I did stray
Where in the good old slushy mud the sea gulls sport and play.
We got the whiff of ray and chips and Mary softly sighed,
“Oh John, come on for a wan and wan
Down by the Liffeyside.”

Then down along by George’s street the loving pairs to view
While Mary swanked it like a queen in a skirt of royal blue;
Her hat was lately turned and her blouse was newly dyed,
Oh you could not match her round the block,
Down by the Liffeyside.

And on her old melodeon how sweetly could she play.;
“Good-by-ee” and “Don’t sigh-ee” and “Rule Brittanni-ay”
But when she turned Sinn Feiner me heart near burst with pride,
To hear her sing the “Soldier’s Song”,
Down by the Liffeyside.

On Sunday morning to Meath street together we will go,
And it’s up to Father Murphy we both will make our vow.
We’ll join our hands in wedlock bands and we’ll be soon outside
For a whole afternoon, for our honeymoon,
Down by the Liffeyside.

Down by the Tanyard Side

I am a rambling hero and by love I am betrayed,
Near to the town of Baltinglass, there dwells a lovely maid,
She’s fairer than Hypatia bright, and she’s free from earthly pride.
She’s a darlin’ maid, her dwelling place is down by the Tanyard side.

Her lovely hair in ringlets rare lies on her snow-white neck,
And the tender glances of her eyes would save a ship from wreck.
Her two red lips so smiling and her teeth so pearly white
Would make a man become her slave down by the Tanyard side.

I courteously saluted her and I viewed her o’er and o’er,
And I said, “Are you Aurora bright descending here below?”
“Oh, no, kind sir, I’m a maiden poor,” she modestly replied,
“And I daily labour for my bread down by the Tanyard side.”

So for twelve long years I courted her till at length we did agree
For to acquaint her parents and married we would be.
But ‘twas then her cruel father to me proved most unkind
Which makes me sail across the sea and leave my love behind.

Farewell, my aged parents, to you I bid adieu.
I’m crossing the main ocean all for the sake of you.
But whenever I return I will make her my bride
And I’ll roll her in my arms again down by the Tanyard side.

The Star of Glengary

The red moon is up o’er the moss covered mountain,
The hour is at hand when I promised to rove
With the turf-cutter’s daughter, by Logan’s bright water,
And tell her how truly her Donald can love!
I ken there’s the miller, with plenty o’ siller,
Would fain with a glance, from her beautiful e’e –
She’s my ain bonny Mary, the star of Glengary,
Keeps all her soft smile and sweet kisses for me –
She’s my ain bonny Mary, the star of Glengary,
Keeps all her soft smiles and sweet kisses for me.

‘Tis long since we trod o’er the highlands together,
Two frolicsome bairns, gaily starting the deer ;
When I called hermy wee wife, my ain bonny wee wife,
And ne’er was sic joys as when Mary was there ;
For she is a blossom I wear in my bosom,
A blossom I cherish and wear till I dee –
She’s my ain bonny Mary, the star of Glengary,
She is health, she is wealth, and a gude wife to me –
She’s my ain bonny Mary, the star of Glengary,
She is health, she is wealth and a gude wife to me.

Sweet Kilkenny Town

I was working in the fields near fair Boston City,
Thinking sadly of Kilkenny – and a girl that’s there;
When a friend came and tould me – late enough and more’s the pity! –
“There’s a letter waitin’ for ye in the postman’s care!”
Oh! My heart was in my mouth, all the while that he was spaking,
For I knew it was from Katy! – she’s the girl that can spell!
And I couldn’t speak for crying, for my heart had night been breaking,
With longing for a word from the girl I love so well.
Oh! I knew it was from Katey. Who could it be but Katey?
The poor girl that loves me well, in sweet Kilkenny town.

Oh! ’twas soon I reached the place, and I thanked them for the trouble
They wor taking with my letter, a-sorting with such care;
And they asked “was it a single?” and I tould them ’twas a double!
For wasn’t it worth twice as much as any letter there?
Then they sorted and they searched, but something seemed the matter
And my heart it stopped beating when I thought that it might be:
Och! Boys, would you believe it? They had gone and lost my letter,
My poor Katey’s letter that had come so far to me

For I knew it was from Katy! – she’s the girl that can spell!
And I couldn’t speak for crying, for my heart had night been breaking,
With longing for a word from the girl I love so well.
Oh! I knew it was from Katey. Who could it be but Katey?
The poor girl that loves me well, in sweet Kilkenny town.

I trimbled like an aspen, but I said, “‘Tis fun you’re making,
Of the poor foolish Paddy, that’s so azy to craze;
Och! Gintlemen, then look again, maybe you wor mistaken,
For letters, as you know, boys, are as like as pase!”
Then they bade me sarch myself, when they saw my deep dejection,
But, och! Who could sarch when the tears blind the sight?
In regard to niver larning to read nor to write,
For I wasn’t cute like Katey, my own darling Katey.

For I knew it was from Katy! – she’s the girl that can spell!
And I couldn’t speak for crying, for my heart had night been breaking,
With longing for a word from the girl I love so well.
Oh! I knew it was from Katey. Who could it be but Katey?
The poor girl that loves me well, in sweet Kilkenny town.

Then they laughed in my face, and they asked me (tho’ in kindness)
What good would letter do to me that I couldn’t understand.
And I answered “Were they cursed with deafness and with blindness,
Would they care less for the clasp of a dear loved hand?”

Oh! the folks that read and write (thought they’re so mighty clever)
See nothin’ but the words, and they’re soon read through;
But Katey’s unread letter would be speaking to me ever
Of the dear love that she bears me, for it shows she is true!
Oh! well I know my Katey, my own darling Katey,
The poor girl that loves me well, in sweet Kilkenny town

Twenty Men From Dublin Town by Arthur Griffith

Twenty men from Dublin Town,
Riding on the mountain side,
Fearless of the Saxon frown,
Twenty brothers true and tried.
Blood flows in the city streets,
There the green is lying low,
Here the emerald standard greets
Eyes alike of friend and foe.

Chorus:
Fly the city, brothers tried,
Join us on the mountain side;
Where we’ve England’s power defied
Twenty men from Dublin town.

Twenty men from Dublin town,
Full of love and full of hate
Oh! our chief, our Tone, is down,
Hand of God, avenge his fate.
Joy is where’er we meet
Redcoats on the mountain track
Ah! as deer they must be fleet
If they get to Dublin back.

Chorus:
Fly the city, brothers tried,
Join us on the mountain side;
Where we’ve England’s power defied
Twenty men from Dublin town.

Twenty men from Dublin town,
Every night around the fire
Brimming methers toss we down
To our Captain, Michael Dwyer.
Sláinte, Michael, brave and true,
Then there rings the wild ‘Hurrah!’
As we drink dear land to you,
Eire, sláinte geal go bráth.

Chorus:
Fly the city, brothers tried,
Join us on the mountain side;
Where we’ve England’s power defied
Twenty men from Dublin town.

The Turfman From Ardee

Foreword by Vince Hearns
“When I was a young lad I often heard this song sung on the Walton’s Programme on a Saturday on Radio Éireann, I cannot remember who the singer was. Waltons published the lyrics in their series “Sing an Irish Song” No 10 “Merry Moments” and they attribute its composition to a Patrick Akins. I certainly remember when Margaret Barry recorded it in 1965, indeed I have a copy of the recording her lyrics are somewhat different. I give the Walton’s version here.”

For sake of health I took a walk last week at early dawn,
I met a jolly turf man as I slowly walked along,
The greatest conversation passed between himself and me
And soon I got acquainted with the turfman from Ardee.

We chatted very freely as we jogged along the road,
He said my ass is tired and I’d like to sell his load,
For I got no refreshments since I left home you see,
And I’m wearied out with travelling said the turfman from Ardee.

Your cart is wracked and worn friend, your ass is very old,
It must be twenty summers since that animal was foaled
Yoked to a cart where I was born, September ‘forty three
And carried for the midwife says the turfman from Ardee

I often do abuse my ass with this old hazel rod,
But never yet did I permit poor Jack to go unshod
The harness now upon his back was made by John McGee
And he’s dead this four and forty years says the turfman from Ardee.

I own my cart now, has been made out of the best of wood,
I do believe it was in use in the time of Noah’s flood
Its axle never wanted grease say one year out of three.
It’s a real old Carrick axle said the turfman from Ardee.

We talked about our country and how we were oppressed
The men we sent to parliament have got our wrongs addressed
I have no faith in members now or nothing else you see
But led by bloomin’ humbugs, said the turfman from Ardee.

Just then a female voice called out, which I knew very well,
Politely asking this old man the load of turf to sell
I shook that stately hand of his and bowed respectfully
In hope to meet some future day, the turfman from Ardee.

The Airy Bachelor

Come all you airy bachelors, a warning take by me,
Give over your night’s rambling and shun bad company;
I lived as happy as a prince whilst I lived in the North;
But the first of my misfortune was to’list in the Light Horse.

It been on a certain Thursday to Galway I did go,
I met with a small officer which proves my overthrow;
I met with Sergeant Dickison in the market just going down;
He says: ‘Young man, would you enlist and be a Light Dragoon?’

‘Oh, no, kind sir, a soldier’s coat with me would not agree,
Nor neither will I bind myself up from my liberty;
I live as happy as a prince, my mind does tell me so;
Good evening, sir, I’m just going down my shuttle for to throw.’

It’s, ‘Are you in a hurry, or are you going away?
O won’t you stop and listen to those words I’m going to say?’
It’s, ‘Do you live far off this place? – the same I want to know;
Your name, kind sir, if you be pleased tell me before I go.’

O, it’s, ‘I’m in a hurry, my dwelling lies far off,
My house and habitation lies six miles below Armagh;
It’s Charles Higgins is my name, from Carlow Town I came;
I ne’er intend to do the crime, I should deny my name.’

He says, ‘Now Cousin, Charley, perhaps you might do worse
To bid farewell to your country boys, and ‘list in the Light Horse’;
With all kinds of persuasion with him I did agree,
I bid farewell to my comrade boys and fight for liberty.

Farewell unto my father; likewise my sisters three,
And likewise to my mother – her kind face I ne’er will see.
As I’ll ride down through Carlow Town, they’ll all run in my mind.,
And thrice farewell to my comrade boys, and the girls I left behind.

Follow Me Up to Carlow by Patrick Joseph McCall

Lift MacCahir Og your face
Brooding o’er the old disgrace
That black FitzWilliam stormed your place,
Drove you to the Fern
Grey said victory was sure
Soon the firebrand he’d secure;
Until he met at Glenmalure
With Feach MacHugh O’Byrne.
Curse and swear Lord Kildare,
Feach will do what Feach will dare
Now FitzWilliam, have a care
Fallen is your star, low.
Up with halberd out with sword
On we’ll go for by the lord
Feach MacHugh has given the word,
Follow me up to Carlow.
See the swords of Glen Imayle,
Flashing o’er the English pale
See all the children of the Gael,
Beneath O’Byrne’s banners
Rooster of the fighting stock,
Would you let a Saxon cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock,
Fly up and teach him manners.
From Tassagart to Clonmore,
There flows a stream of Saxon gore
Oh, great is Rory Oge O’More,
At sending loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled,
Now for black FitzWilliam’s head
We’ll send it over, dripping red,
To Liza and her ladies

Traditional (around 1500). In 1580, at the pass of Glenmalure in Co. Wicklow, Feach MacHugh O’Byrne overthrew the forces of the Crown under Lord Grey de Wilton at Glenmalure. The victory is commemorated in this poem of Patrick Joseph McCall.

Donnelly and Cooper

Come all you true bred Irishmen I hope you will draw near,
And likewise pay attention to those few lines I have here,
It is as true a story a ever you did here,
Of how Donnelly fought Cooper on the Curragh of Kildare.

It was on the third of June, brave boys, the challenge was sent o’er,
From Britannia to old Grania for to raise her son once more
To renew the satisfaction and the credit to record,
They are all in deep distraction since Daniel conquered all.

Old Grania read the challenge and received it with a smile,
‘You’d better haste unto Kildare my well-beloved child,
It is there you’d reign victorious as you often did before;
And your deeds will sine most glorious around sweet Erin’s shore.’

The challenge was accepted and those heroes did prepare
To meet brave Captain Kelly on the Curragh of Kildare,
Those Englishmen bet ten to one on each other’s blood to spill,
From six to nine they parried that time till Donnelly knocked him down
Here Grania smiled, ‘Well done my child, that is ten thousand pounds.’

The second round that Cooper fought he knocked down Donnelly
And Dan likewise being of true game, he rose most furiously,
Right active then was Cooper he knocked Donnelly down again,
Those Englishmen they gave three cheers saying ‘ The battle is all in vain.’
Long life to Miss Kelly ‘tis recorded on the plain,
She boldly stepped into the ring saying, ‘Dan, what do you mean?’
‘Well done,’ says she, ‘brave Donnelly, my Irish boy,’ said she
‘My whole estate I have laid out on you, brave Donnelly.’

The Donnelly rose up again and meeting with great might,
For to stagnate those nobles all, he continued on the fight.
Tho’ Cooper stood in his own defence exertion proved in vain,
For he soon received a temple blow that hurled him o’er the rails.

You sons of proud Britannia, your boasting now recall,
Since Cooper by Dan Donnelly has met his sad downfall,
In eleven rounds he got nine knock-downs likewise a broke jaw-bone,
‘Shake hands,’ said she, ‘brave Donnelly, the battle is all our own.