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.

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.

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.

Michael Dwyer (Version I)

Foreword by Vince Hearns
“This is the oldest song that I know, that is, I know it for the longest period of time. My father taught it to me when I was only four years of age. The story of how Dwyer escaped from the Redcoats was really exciting for a small boy. When it was related by a great storyteller like my father, a child experienced the all the attributes of battle, , bravery , challenge, courage, comradeship, defiance, noise, shouting, shooting and finally victory and escape. The Glen of Imaal today is a military firing range away in an isolated part of Co. Wicklow. The cottage referred to in the incident in 1798 is still there to this very day.”


At length brave Michael Dwyer, you and your trusty men,
Are hunted o’er the mountain and tracked into the glen,
Sleep not, but watch and listen with ready blade and ball,
For the soldiers know your hiding place tonight in wild Imaal.

The stealthy soldiers followed, and at the break of day,
Discovered in a cabin, where the outlaw rebels lay,
They gathered round the cabin and they formed into a ring
And they cried out Michael Dwyer, surrender to the king.

In answer brave Dwyer said , “into this house we came,
Unasked by those who own it, they cannot be to blame,
So let those guiltless people, unquestioned pass you through,
And when they have passed in safety, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.”

‘Twas done then brave Dwyer said , “your work you can begin,
You are four hundred outside we’re only four within,
I’ve heard your haughty challenge, and this is my reply
We’re four United Irishmen, we’ll fight until we die.”

Then burst the wars red lightning, and poured the leaden rain,
The hills around re-echoed the thunder peals again,
The soldiers falling round him, saw with pride,
But ah! One gallant comrade lay wounded by his side.

Yet there are three surviving good battle for to do,
Their hands are strong and steady their aim is quick and true
But hark the furious shouting the savage soldiers raise
The house is fired around them and the roof is in a blaze.

And brighter every moment the lurid flamed arose
And louder swelled the laughter and cheering of the foes,
Then spake the brave McAllister the weak and wounded man
Saying, “you can escape my comrades and this shall be your plan”

“Place in my hand a musket then lie upon the floor
I’ll stand before the soldiers, you open wide the door
The’ll pour into my bosom the fire of their array,
And when their guns are empty, dash through them and away.”

He stood before the soldiers revealed amid the flames
From out the levelled pieces the wished for volleys came,
Up sprang the three survivors, for whom the hero died,
But only Michael Dwyer, broke through the ranks outside.

He baffled his pursuers who followed like the wind,
He swam the river Slaney and he left them far behind
And many an English soldier, from then till now did fall,
For brave Dwyer’s comrades that night in wild Imaal.

Michael Dwyer (Version II)

At length brave Michael Dwyer and his undaunted men
Were scented o’er the mountains and tracked into the glen;
The stealthy soldiers followed, with ready blade and ball,
And swore to trap the outlaws that night in wild Emall.


They prowled about the valley, and toward the dawn of day
Discovered where the faithful and fearless heroes lay;
Around the little cottage they formed a ring,
And called out “Michael Dwyer, surrender to the king!”

Thus answered Michael Dwyer: “Into this house we came
Unasked by those who own it, they cannot be to blame;
Then let those guiltless people, unquestioned, pass you through,
And when they’re passed in safety, I’ll tell you what we’ll do.”

‘Twas done – “and now,” said Dwyer, “your work you may begin;
You are a hundred outside, we’re only four within;
We’ve heard your haughty summons, and this is our reply:
We’re true united Irishmen, we’ll fight until we die.”

Then burst the wars red lightning, then poured the leaden rain,
The hills around re-echoed the thunder peals again.
The soldiers falling round him, brave Dwyer sees with pride –
But ah! One gallant comrade is wounded by his side.

Yet there are three remaining good battle still to do,
Their hands are strong and steady, their aim is quick and true
But hark – that furious shouting the savage soldiers raise!
The house is fired around them, the roof is in a blaze!

And brighter every moment the lurid flamed arose
And louder swelled the laughter and cheering of their foes,
Then spake the brave M’Allister the weak and wounded man
“You can escape my comrades, and this shall be your plan””

“”Place in my hands a musket, then lie upon the floor,
I’ll stand before the soldiers, and open wide the door;
They’ll pour into my bosom the fire of their array,
Then while their guns are empty, dash through them and away!””

He stood before the foemen revealed amidst the flame,
From out their levelled pieces the wished-for volley came,
Up sprang the three survivors, for whom the hero died,
But only Michael Dwyer, burst through the ranks outside.

He baffled his pursuers, who followed like the wind,
And swam the river Slaney and left them far behind
And many a scarlet soldier, he promised soon should fall,
For those, his gallant comrades, who died in wild Emall.

Version from the collections of Manus O’Connor, 1901.

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.