Poems,Ballads &Limericks and a song or two !!!

Over this last while, I’ve come across lots of poems, and other penned works, by various people who back in the day, sent it in to the Dungannon Observer, and the Tyrone Courier and I’m sure other papers as well,so others could enjoy them ,some leave a name as to who wrote the article,others do not .I’ll add them as often as I can so please bear with me.

The Old House At Home In County Tyrone (Mary J Woods)

  • Ah ! the old house at home  where my forefathers dwelt 

  • Where a child at the feet of my mother I knelt;

  • Where she taught me the prayer,where she read me the page,

  • Which in infancy lisps is the solace of age ;

  • My heart ‘mid all changes where ‘ere I roam ,

  • Ne’er loses it’s love for the old house at home ,

  • The old house at home in Co.Tyrone.

  • Around the green fields were so fresh and so fair ,

  • In sweet dreams I often return to wander there,

  • Once more filled with joy that is almost pain,

  • I’d come back to see the old house at home again

  • My heart mid all changes where ‘ere I roam

  • Ne’er loses it’s love for the old house at home –

  • The old house at home in County Tyrone

  • ‘Twas not for it’s splendor that dwelling was dear ,

  • ‘Twas not that the rich and the noble were near,

  • For o’er the porch the wild rose and the ivy entwined

  • And the sweet scented jasmine waved in the wind,

  • Ah! dearer to me than proud turret or dome

  • Were the walls of my fathers in the old house at home-

  • The old house at home in the County Tyrone.


  • These are the walls that sheltered once

  • The fearless Hugh O’Neill

  • And this the spot where once he stored

  • His stacks of bristling steel

  • Here his tents were often pitched

  • Here his pike-men lay

  • And here  aloft his banner waved

  • To lead them to the fray .

  • Here within the court-yard stood

  • The captive Saxon horde

  • Who lost the day and fell a prey

  • To Hugh at Yellow Ford

  • Methinks I see before me now

  • Hugh in the saddle ride :

  • I hear his loud and stern command

  • I see outspreading wide

  • Blackwater’s waves all crimson dark

  • Choked with the dead and dying

  • As down the Saxon standard sinks

  • While Hugh’s Red -Hand is flying

  • That Celtic storm drives on apace

  • Bagnall is lying low

  • And triumph crowns the gallant charge

  • Of Hugh O’Donnell Roe

  • Grey shattered walls that sheltered once

  • The eagle of his clan:

  • Who watched him into exile go

  • A wronged and broken man

  • You heard the joy-shout and the wail

  • You saw the torches flickering red :

  • You saw Black Hugh’s dark haughty face:

  • Have you a memory of the dead?


  • The train pulls into the station,station

  • The platform is crowded and yet-

  • Most people have not come to travel

  • They are present to show their respect.

  • From the signal box comes the “last signal,

  • The guard blows the whistle so shrill ,

  • The green flag is waved on the platform,

  • The Stationmaster stands quite so still.

  • For this is the last train to Derry,

  • The line it now will be pulled down

  • The U.T.A have now taken over,

  • The railway is lost to our town

  • Late at night whilst all’s still and silent,

  • If a train you should hear on the track

  • It’s a “ghost train”from Dungannon to Derry,

  • And it’s back here to show its respect.

      ST . PATRICK     (Mary J. Woods )

  • A humble shepherd boy was he and roamed the Slemish Hill,

  • A captured slave,but,oh so brave,he loved the Irish still.

  • Twas in a wondrous dream one night,God looked upon his face,

  • “St .Patrick,you’ll fulfil your dream and teach the Irish race.”

  • St Patrick came to Ireland in the year 432,

  • He returned to teach the Irish and to preach the Gospel true.

  • He was a very simple man,yet culture rare had he.

  • ‘Twas he who lit the Paschal fire and set the Irish free.

  • St Patrick spoke in Irish too,our people he had dear,

  • All crawling snakes and reptiles low ,from Ireland he did clear.

  • “Three Persons in one God.”twas hard to understand.

  • But Patrick made it crystal clear with the shamrock in his hand.

  • He also lit a mighty fire on Tara’s lofty hill.

  • And gave us the priceless gift of faith:thank God,we have it still.

  • He planted love where hate ruled,led with firm but gentle hand.

  • God bless the day,the month,the hour,he came to Ireland.

  • Smile down upon our country,unsettled and unsure.

  • Bless the emigrants who’ve wandered from city street and moor.

  • You have the power,now wield it to make our dreams come true,

  • Give us freedom and independence,give us political unity,too.

     THE BANSHEE   (Brian Heatley)

  • “Twas down at Brian Meehan’s we heerd it ,it’s cry weird on the still night air;

  • Myself,Brian and his Kate, Pat O’Neill and Johnny Nolan from the Corners were there.

  • “Twas after the crack round the fireside whilst enjoying the ould cup o’tay

  • When out of the darkness beyont us,rose that heart-boken lamenting cry.

  • Sure wasn’t everyone there afeart of ,”Twas a cry not of this place

  • But the wall o’ a carrier of evil and the thought showed on every face

  • Whilst the flickering lamplight above us cast shadows o’ every shape

  • That cry rose again from the darkness, like a captive without an escape.

  • “W’eil go hie luk at yon cratur”,said Brian with fear in his eyes,

  • “For I’ll no rest content till I see what it meant and what is the reason it cries”,

  • We followed Kate home ,myself and the boys,into that pitchcap o’ darkness

  • Searching for the source o’ that noise.

  • And down by the ould ruins we saw it, a figure as whit as snow,

  • Wi long flowing hair past the shoulder,and lit all around by the glow;

  • A glow that wasn’t o’ mankind,but something o’ the demons of hell,

  • And combing that hair whilst still crying for a reason no one could tell.

  • For the Banshee had given her warning,death was near,and was certain we knew.

  • A prayer for the repose o’ the sowl,o’ that scion o’ an ould Irish crew,

  • And all o’ us ran quick for our cabins,to say many a prayer anew;

  • And as we watched it afore us ,it gradually faded from view,

  • In the following days we dreaded the news, through the papers we quietly scanned,

  • Till a letter arrived for poor Patsy O’Neill,Wi word of his brother Dan.

  • In far of Chicago on a building site,he’d been crushed neath a falling wall,

  • And the warning we’d had had not been in vain,

  • The Banshee had rang true wi’ her call.


  • I recall with delight those days long gone by

  • When I played Gaelic football with Tír na nÓg ,Moy,

  • Of that famous team ,very few remain,

  • And their record I think,we will not see again !


  • They played for the sheer delight of the game,

  • Their physical fitness was always the same.

  • In Summer or Winter,through mud,slush or snow,

  • They played a clean game and put up a good show !


  • Our “Minister of Finance” was called Peter Tohall ,

  • Who paid our expenses and sold us bad coal !

  • Our secretary and team mate was “Tiny Tim “

  • He played like a “lion” and banged the goals in !


  • A forward called “Rabbit” banged goals by the score,

  • From yards out Joe Byrne shot points-I’m quite sure.

  • The centre full back was a man called Big Dan,

  • His motto-“no goals ! just try if you can ! “

  • A wee man called “Banty” who played on the wing,

  • Seemed to have the ball tied to his toe-on a string !

  • When he raced up the field without a puff or a blow ,

  • The captains loud voice shouted ” Pass it to Joe! “

  • The brothers McVeigh from Killyman Street

  • Were footballers true-head,toe and feet.

  • And the Byrnes from Eglish,both Charlie and Pat,

  • Could show you the way ,or knock you down flat!

  • There were Clancy ,McSorley,with Curran and Finn,

  • All Charlemont boys who were put out to win ,

  • And Tierney,a full back,strong,bold and fleet.

  • A tower of defence,impossible to beat !

  • We had many good patrons who came from the Moy,

  • Johnny Coleman,Pat Campbell,James and Eddie Conroy

  • Master Byrne and Gerry on the sideline would be

  • Cheering with Jack McKearney and Johnny Magee!

  • Our friends always thought their great team should win

  • A cracked rib-no excuse nor a kick to the shin.

  • If injured they shouted:”Take him home to his Ma”

  • They yelled and catcalled:Chicken,you’re a Ba -Ba!”

  • How was their passage,those years that have fled.

  • Now we treasure the memory of comrades long dead,

  • Who in life “played the game” as good footballers do

  • And hand on a glorious tradition-to you!

  The Horse Fair In The Moy  (John Roe)

  • The Moy is just a one horse Town

  • You may perhaps have heard

  • And yet the town knew better days

  • When the Moy was a household word.

  • The Horse Fair in the Moy was famed

  • From Laganside to Lee

  • And horses from the Moy were prized

  • In the Russian Cavalry.

  • My mother often told with pride

  • When in reminiscent mood

  • Of the horses that her grandpa bought

  • Grey,black,brown golden hued.

  • He had acted as the agent for the armies of the Czar

  • For a better a better judge of horseflesh

  • Ne’er breathed than her Grandpa.

  • One day or so her story went

  • A Belgian sought his aid

  • In judging a black chargers worth

  • Before the deal was made.

  • They’d view the beasts on offer

  • The Belgian and Grandpa

  • then they spied this animal

  • From a farm near Maghera.

  • “Now there’s your horse”

  • Grandpa advised (John Kelly was his name)

  • The Belgian grimaced ruefully

  • He played the waiting game.

  • “Mai non he has no fetlocks”

  • He shrugged in depreciation

  • “Non non he has no hind quarters

  • He groaned in mock vexation.

  • “The price is low” so Kelly urged

  • The Belgian unimpressed

  • Found fault with every muscle bone

  • The big black beast possessed.

  • At last the Kelly temper burst

  • He roared (and he could bawl!)

  • “Would you quit your Belgian balderdash

  • Or there’ll be no horse at all!.

   Beggars Can Be Choosers   (Joe Roe )

  • The Courthouse in Dungannon is faced with cold grey stone

  • But colder still the culprits feet before the J.P’s throne.

  • The year is 1921,the J.P.? P.J Clancy!

  • The sentence may not be too light for Clancy’s mood is chancy.

  • The policeman’s charge is cut and dried.

  • It seems that while on beat,he’d found this brazen beggar man 

  • Begging pennies on the street!

  • No counsel for the beggar speaks,

  • The wretch is sound found guilty,

  • His face is grim the bench he grips,

  • His knuckles white though filthy.

  • The J.P eyes the miscreant whom  fear and gloom surrounds,

  • “Two weeks in jail”,he sentences,

  • “Two weeks or four half-crowns”.

  • The beggar gasps in gratitude as puzzled ,Clancy frowns,

  • “Begob” he eagerly declares,

  • “I’ll take the four half-crowns!”.

The Wants Of The Poor (Mrs G.C Hibbard)

We want -not charity

  • With fitful dole to stop beside our door

  • And shudder at the vulgar sorrows of the poor,

  • Lifting her silken skirts with dainty grace,

  • Giving her alms with half averted face.

We want but justice.

  • The honest earnings of our willing hands,

  • A rightful share of all these broad and smiling lands,

  • To taste of Natures fullness on her perfect plan,

  • And be,as God hath meant,a sovereign man.

In hovels penned

  • Torn by gaunt hunger,naked and forlorn,

  • Hailing the restful eye,dreading the breaking morn.

  • That bids us wake to all the horrors of our chains,

  • And wrings the shrinking soul with more exquisite

  • So do we live,so generations come and go,[pains-

  • Whose all of life is one long night of woe.

The answered prayer-

  • “Give unto us this day our daily bread,”  [fed;-

  • Is not a moulding morsel wherewith we can be

  • Nor can the Father’s will on earth be done,

  • While avarice and greed take all and leave us none.

  • These are our wrongs,they stretch thro’ weary years

  • And all the pathway marked with bitterness and [tears.

Give us but justice.

  • Then we will wait the swift oncoming day [away-

  • When all these flaunting,flimsy rags are shred

  • Which men call wealth position,birth-

  • As though we were not all the sons of Mother Earth,

  • Justly entitled at her board to share

  • A righteous measure of the bounties there.

      TYRONE !        (W.F Marshall)

  • Oh the Ironman came with a sword and spear

  • And the edge of his iron to carve a throne,

  • And the words of the Ironman stay with us here 

  • For he christened the places in County Tyrone.

  • So wherever you go from KILLOON to CORBOE

  • They are tuneful and sweet as a bird on a bough:

  • They set your feet tapping and tempt you to clapping,

  • O stranger,just hark to the lilt of them now!

  • There’s CAVANAMARA and dark DERRYMEEN,



  • All dancing a jig with CREGGANCONROE



  • While merrily tripping and up and down dipping



  • Where is the like from the MOY to the PLUM?

  • A fiddler could play,in a lilter could hum



  • There’s bonnie DUNMULLAND and EDINTILOAN,




  • And-merry as ever and light on the toe 

  • Here they come dancing in rythm entrancing 



  • Hark to the lilt of them!See how they go!

  • Say them out loud or whisper them low,


  • Yet if you would fetch me to SAVAGHANROE

  • Or FERNAGHANDRUM,I confess

  • I’d be eager to see them and happy to go,

  • But,for reasons I’ll leave you to guess.

  • I would rather be back in the streams of REMACKIN,

  • Or knee-deep in BERNISH in bracken and fern 

  • Or tramping the heather in warm August weather

  • The grouse-haunted heather on high FALLAGHEARN

  • My heart is with you in the heart of Tyrone,

  • But the one I know best has a charm of it’s own;

  • Green Hill of O’Neills that my boyhood has known

  • O high are the hills in the heart of Tyrone!

  • For a cool wind is blowing on TULLYNEIL hill,

  • And the flags on the church are unfurled,

  • And a man could be over on TULLYNEIL hill

  • The happiest man in the world

  • H e could sit on the slope where it lies to the sun,

  • Or in shade where the crab-apples grow

  • And prefer it to farming in places as charming 


  • Come all ye Tyronemen of honour and fame

  • The end of my song is a truth that you know:

  • You may travel afar,but there’s always a name

  • That has charm and enchantment wherever you go:

  • For it’s tied up with joy that was yours as a boy,

  • It is flesh of your flesh and was bred in your bone,


  • And your Hill of O’Neill in your County Tyrone.

       Erin, I’d blush to be born of Thee (Mary Jane O’Donovan Rossa)

  • Fairest thou art, O dear land by the wave,

    Fairest and fruitful, but still, still a slave;
    Outcasts thy children, a by-word thy name,
    The manhood of nations may laugh at thy shame.
    Only I know in thy soul burns strong
    The will and the hope for the downfall of wrong;
    Only I know thou hast vowed to be free,
    Erin, I’d blush to be born of thee !

  • Thy meed is contempt from the peoples free-born,

    Thy meed from thy mistress is insult and scorn,

    The fate of the slave and the exile to share,

    And thy meed from the Heavens is chains while thou’lt bear.

    Only I know in thy soul burns strong

    The will and the hope to avenge this great wrong;

    Only I know thou hast vowed to be free,

    Erin, I’d blush to be born of thee !

  • Fruitful thou art, but for strangers the store

    That goldens thy bosom and silvers thy shore;

    Fair — would thy fairness, round which Ocean raves,

    E’en make me content to be herded with slaves?

    No, I would fly thee and make me a home

    In a country less loved but more free o’er the foam;

    Only I know thou hast vowed to be free,

    Erin, I’d blush to be born of thee !

  • Fairest, my land I has thine olden pride waned?

    With the ebb of thy race is thy glory fount drained?

    No, thou wilt wake, gather in all thy breath

    From the winds, for a struggle for triumph or death.

    In thy soul now burns deeply and strong,

    The power, the will, for the downfall of wrong;

    Erin, my land, thou hast vowed to be free,

    With pride still thy children claim birth-place in thee!


  • I came across this song written about the taking of Newtownhamilton barracks on May 9th 1920,By Frank Aiken,and 200 IRA volunteers,it was later sang by a group of 42 men on the slope of Annaverna mountain near Dundalk, just before the IRA in August 1922 along with Frank Aiken and 300 anti treaty volunteers took over Dundalk .It’s a song I’ve never heard before,so hopefully someone out there will get the benefit of seeing it, and maybe know the air as,well.

The Night That Newton Barracks Went a blazing 

  • (Chorus) The night that Newtown Barracks went A blazing .

  • On the night of May ,that glorious day in Newtownhamilton town,

  • Some rebels there assembled to burn the barracks down.

  • They wore smiling faces ,not one of them wore a frown,

  • And they left the Peelers homeless before morning,

  • (chorus)

  • Up went the signal rockets bang went the hand grenades,

  • The rifles and machine guns,a terrible din they made,

  • And the publican who lived next door,oh heavens ,

  • how he prayed,On the morning Newton barracks went a-blazing,

  • The road was barricaded surrounded was the town,

  • While lads on every highway cut the telegraph wires down,

  • Then sweet and clear music rang from out the rifles brown,

  • And willing were the hearts that beat behind them.

  • (chorus)

  • It was early in the morning that barracks first did fall,

  • A well directed hand grenade blew in the guard room wall,

  • “Oh that will do ,we’ve had enough the peelers loud did call,

  • And another Englisg garrison went assunder

  • (chorus)

  • So here’s to Dorsey and White cross,Camlough and Newry too,

  • And the boys of Cross and Mullaghbawn,where the hearts were always true,

  • They raised the old Tricolour where the Union Jack once flew,

  • And they added fame and honour to their country

  • (chorus)

  • ,,,,I’m not sure of the air but it mentions a popular air of the time .

The Famine Year  (Lady Jane Wilde ,mother of Oscar )

Weary men, what reap ye? —Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye? —Human corses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger‐stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers—what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping? —Would to God that we were dead
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.


Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,
God meant you but to smile within your mother’s soft embraces.
Oh! we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;
But we’re hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.
And some of us grow cold and white—we know not what it means;
But, as they lie beside us, we tremble in our dreams.
There’s a gaunt crowd on the highway—are ye come to pray to man,
With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?


No; the blood is dead within our veins—we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;


We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother’s hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever’s scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark‐twisted tresses—
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother’s first caresses.


We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan;
Yet, if fellow‐men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?
Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest—the alien owns our soil.
O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain’s?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow
Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.


One by one they’re falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We’ve no strength left to dig them graves—there let them lie.
The wild bird, if he’s stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we—we die in Christian land—we die amid our brothers,
In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin, or a grave.
Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,
Will not be read on judgment‐day by eyes of Deity?


We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,
But God will yet take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died.
Now is your hour of pleasure—bask ye in the world’s caress;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin’d masses,
For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
A ghastly, spectral army, before the great God we’ll stand,
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land.

A WISH (Joseph McGarrity)

  • A low thatched cot,with whitewashed walls,

  • On a mountain side in dark Tyrone.

  • Where loud and shrill the moorcock call,

  • There let me sit and muse alone.

  • Each morn at dawn I’ll wander forth,

  • When Sol to diamonds turns to dew:

  • There in my own beloved North

  • All natures charms,entranced,I’ll view.

  • To feed upon the dewy grass

  • I’ll bring my flock of sheep and kine,

  • The timid hare will swiftly pass,

  • Secure from hurt by hand of mine.

  • By light of moon,in yonder vale,

  • I’ll drill my Fenian boys each night,

  • And pray that God may send the Gael

  • A day when I can lead the fight !

SOLDIER OF FREEDOOM !(In memory of Dan Breen),(by Sean UA Cearnaigh)

  • No trumpets sounded on that far of day

  • When you first battled with the ancient foe

  • In old Tipperary fifty years ago;

  • -Dust unto dust and crumbling clay to clay-

  • And Irishmen,remembering for a day,

  • The valiant soul who ventured long ago

  • For home and country,pause,and tears o’erflow

  • Where mourning thousands come to praise and pray


  • The dark Tipperary hills keep sentinel

  • Above your resting-place-no need to mourn-

  • You served your country fearlessly and well

  • And in the coming time bards yet unborn

  • Shall speak in thunderous rann and rousing song

  • Of Ashtown ,Fernside ,Solohead and Knocklong..


  • Old Lough Neagh bright does gleam tonight ,beneath the rising moon,

  • And on the shore the fragrant fields are fresh with flowers in June.

  • Sweet sounds the mavis from the hill,where hawthorn blossoms show,

  • As slowly home the fishing boats come sailing to Clonoe.

  • Ah! many years have come and gone,since last I stood to view,

  • Those shamrock shores old Lough Neagh,caressed with heather blue;

  • But down the paths of youthful years in dreams I oftimes go,

  • When twilight shades are falling on the fields of old Clonoe

  • No more for me the redbreast’s song will greet the summer dawn,

  • My evenings by Blackwater’s banks for evermore are gone.

  • The curlew’s call above the bay,no more I’ll ever know,

  • When mists are on the meadows and the moss-banks of Clonoe.

  • Oh all I own,dear green Tyrone,I’d give to see you now,

  • When shadows of a lonely life are falling on my brow.

  • The old grey heads,the merry lads,around the turf fire glow

  • My heart is there with you tonight,’way back in old Clonoe.

  • May friendship round your people all,it’s golden bonds entwine,

  • And bright upon your heather hills,may freedom’s sun soon shine;

  • And may your Queen in heav’n above,her blessing fond bestow,

  • On each home there by Lough Neagh,fair and lovely old Clonoe.

COURTESY! (Mary J. Woods)

  • I was walking to mass on Sunday.

  • And I can not walk well on ice:

  • My feet seem to go ‘this way and that way’,

  • Which all will agree is not nice!

  • Two gallant lads came to my rescue;

  • I clutched to their arms for dear life.

  • Master Begley and Master Hagan ,William Street ,I thank you-

  • These teenagers are really alright

  • Many’s an evening I spent with their grandmother-

  • Having tea and a chat in Pomeroy.

  • Your grandsons have taken after you,

  • They must be their parents pride and joy.

  • A postman assisted me also –

  • Good luck to you Sir,for your arm

  • As I was going my way.

  • Lord ,I must be a terrible creature

  • For giving such trouble that day,

  • But you’ll understand ,you must have,

  • For you sent those kind people my way.

Aunt Kate and The Coalisland Cow! (Joe Roe )

  • In our home long ago in Coalisland

  • We never went short of fresh milk.

  • For we had our own cow in the byre-

  • A shorthorn with coat soft as silk.

  • It was milked in the morning and evening

  • Two pailfuls a day was the yield

  • I often was sent with the brother to bring in the cow from the field.

  • Do you know that milk tasted like honey.

  • And the buttermilk,too when we churned .

  • So cool and refreshing in Summer,

  • Sure champagne itself I’d have spurned!

  • When she came on her annual visit ,

  • Aunt Kate,with her gift of a lamb,

  • Had a glass of the milk before bedtime-

  • No wonder she slept long and calm!

  • Did she know that a measure of whiskey

  • Was mixed with the milk from the churn?

  • If she did ,she never pretended 

  • As each sip in the mouth slowly turned.

  • When the time for “goodbye” came

  • She earnestly used Pa most solemnly vow

  • “Whatever you sell or loan or auction,

  • Never ,never get rid of that cow!”

Memories of Maghery (MaryJ Woods)

  • On the banks of lovely Lough Neagh’s shore

  • Winnie and I strolled around Maghery in days of yore,

  • Twas a Summer’s evening and to my delight I heard

  • From the old churchyard the beautiful song of a bird.

  • I heard the caw of rooks greeting a boat serene ,

  • That glided past the whispering reeds of green,

  • While close beneath my eyes from twig to grassy bed,

  • There stretched a silken thread of a spider’s web

  • Rich with a wreath of glittering dew drops rare,

  • Befitting jewels to sparkle.

  • We gazed at the little boats and golden sun shining

  • Through the lovely green leafed trees

  • The golden gorse the fields,the lovely flowers,the buzzing bees

  • How beautiful it was-we were so young

  • And we danced all night at Maghery Hall

  • The pianist was from Coalisland,he was grand,and oh so tall !

  • We sat for some time at the waters edge

  • And watched some fishermen mending their torn nets

  • As we splashed our feet from the place where we

  • Leaned against a wooden ledge

  • Summer had brought her brightest hues

  • To every single leaf,the trees ,the fields ,the banks and woods.

  • In Maghery ,we’re rich beyond belief.

  • Perhaps we felt a little sad leaving Maghery’s banks to depart,

  • Yet through all these years Winnie and I

  • Have treasured wonderful memories of Maghery

  • And those Summer days spent there in our heart.

Old Ardboe !

  • Ye gods, assist my poor wearied notion,

    Ye inspired muses, lend me your hand

    To help my endeavour both night and morning

    To sing the praises of that lovely strand;

    Well situated in North of Ireland,

    All in the county of sweet Tyrone,

    Along the banks of famed Lough Neagh

    Is that ancient fabric of Old Ardboe.

  • Oh, stand awhile and view that harbour

    Where purling streams roll to and fro,

    Where fishes sporting both night and morning.

    Yield of their bounty to old Ardboe.

    No serpent lurks in its hallowed waters.

    No odours poisoned infest the breeze,

    While peace and plenty for sons and daughters

    Abound around you, sweet Lough Neagh.

  • In the summer season for recreation

    You can careless stray along the strand,

    Where Boreas breezes are gently blowing,

    Along the shores where the fabric stands;

    On the 24th  June and 2nd of August

    They do assemble from every part

    For to petition the Queen of Heaven

    To pardon sinners with contrite heart.

  • Humbly beseeching the Queen of Heaven

    On her dear Son for to prevail,

    While on all occasions you’ll be attended

    By its dear-loved pastor, Priest O’Neill:

    It was St. Patrick that did adorn,

    That great cross he placed on high,

    So that each spectator might well remember

    How on the cross God’s Son did die.

  • I’ve travelled France and I’ve travelled Flanders,

    And all the countries beyond the Rhine,

    But in all my rakings and undertakings

    Ardboe, your equal I ne’er could find;

    My course I’ve taken to Indian oceans,

    To the shores of Cana and Galilee,

    Yet in all my rakings and undertakings.

    Ardboe, your equal I ne’er did see.


THE GROVES OF ALTMORE! (to the air of “Teddy O’Neill”)

  • Come gather me boys till I tell you the story

  • About Harry McVeigh of the County Tyrone,

  • Returning from journeys on far distant oceans

  • To visit his loved ones near his dear native home;

  • The night it had fallen,the moon raced the heavens,

  • Rain pelted the road,he was wet to the core,

  • To meet his young Kathleen so many months parted,

  • In his cottage sedate in the Groves of Altmore.

  • Not a fox in the bracken nor hare parted the heather

  • Save an owl on a branch looking down in despair.

  • Not a bark of a dog nor human voice calling,

  • Was wafted to Harry on the midnight air;

  • The house set in darkness not a candle did twinkle.

  • With locks well defended was the cottage door,

  • Such was the welcome for Harry returning

  • That dark winter’s night in the Groves of Altmore.

  • He mounted the ladder winds howled through the branches,

  • As oft at the mast of the billows did ride,

  • With a prayer on his lips when kicking the canvas

  • Holding fast to the chimney the ridge tile did ride.

  • Head foremost he plunged as in days of his boyhood

  • While dodging a father on guard at the door.

  • Then downward he plunged in soot,smoke and mortar,

  • That nightmare of eves in the Groves of Altmore.

  • Oft shipwrecked on shores of Nigerian waters.

  • He frog-marched his way through shoal,whale and shark,

  • He kicked and he shouted to attract passing neighbours,

  • Or draw from  his collie one slumbering bark;

  • Eileen of the Lodge,like a fay of the forest,

  • Out sketching Crockbuoy was first to the fore,

  • And Nipper the pointer ,his tail docked in motion,

  • Located young Harry nigh the Groves of Altmore.

  • The sirens were sounded from hill,glen and valley

  • Like a national rally,men raced from Glenbuoy,

  • With tractors and pulleys and break-down equipment,

  • And fire engines raced through the streets of Pomeroy;

  • The tackle adjusted,the windless ascending,

  • Harry skyward appeared,but not as a yore,

  • Blinded and black as a native of Congo,

  • Looked Harry that morn in the Groves of Altmore

  • Doctors,nurses and bobbies in dozens had gathered

  • And ambulances clanged through village and town

  • The colleens in blouse of silk and best nylon,

  • Tea,coffee and cocoa sent coyly around;

  • Boyle strummed on the viol,

  • “The tragedy O’er,”

  • While Eileen harped blithely

  • “Mavournen Asthore,”

  • And Kathleen overjoyed in emotional rapture,

  • Kissed the cheek of her Love in the Groves of Altmore.


  • A shepherd that lives on Slieve Gullion

  • Came down to the County Tyrone,

  • And told us how Redmond O’Hanlon

  • Won’t let the rich Saxon alone!

  • He rides over moorland and mountain

  • By night,till a stranger is found,

  • Saying ‘Take your own choice to be  lodging

  • Right over or under the ground!.


  • if you whistle out Whoo!like a native

  • He leaves you the way to go clear

  • If you squeeze out a Hew!like a Saxon,

  • Och,then,tis your life or your gold.

  • By stages Count Redmond O’Hanlon

  • Gets back what they pilfered of old.


  • Old Coote of Coothill is heart-broken

  • And Johnson beyond in the Fews 

  • Has wasted eight barrels of powder

  • Upon him,but all to no use

  • Although there’s four hundred pounds sterling 

  • If Redmond you’d put out of sight,

  • Mind,if the heart’s dark in your body

  • Tis Redmond will let in the light.


  • The great Duke of Ormond is frantic

  • His soldiers got up with the lark

  • To catch this bold Redmond by daylight,

  • But Redmond caught them inthe dark 

  • Says he,when he stripped them and bound them

  • ‘Take back my best thanks to his Grace

  • For all the fine pistols and powder 

  • He sent to this desolate place’.


  • “Then here’s to you,Redmond O’Hanlon

  • Long may your excellency reign.

  • High ranger of woods and of rivers,

  • Surveyor of mountains and plain

  • Examiner-chief of all traitors

  • Protector of all that are true-

  • hence-forward,King Charlie of England

  • May take what he gets after you!”


  • ON Douglas Bridge I met a man who lived adjacent to Strabane.

  • Before the English hung him high for riding with O’Hanlon.

  • The eyes of him were just as fresh,as when they burned inside the flesh,

  • And his bootlegs were wide apart-from riding with O’Hanlon.

  • God save you,Sir ,I said with fear;you seem to be a stranger here.

  • Not I,said he,or any man that rode with Count O’Hanlon.

  • I know each glen from North Tyrone to Monaghan,I have been known

  • By each clan and parish,since I rode with Count O’Hanlon.

  • Before that time,he said to me,my fathers owned the land you see,

  • But now they’re out among the moors ariding with O’Hanlon.

  • Before that time,he said with pride,my father rode where now they ride,

  • As Raparees before the time of trouble and O’Hanlon.

  • Good-night to you and God be with the tellers of the tale and myth

  • For they are of the spirit stuff that rode with Count O’Hanlon

  • Good-night to you,I said and God be with the chargers fairy shod

  • That bear the Ulster heroes forth to ride with Count O’Hanlon.

  • At Douglas Bridge we parted but the gap of dreams is never shut,

  • To one whose saddled soul to-night rides out with Count O’Hanlon.


(Charles QUIN,1958)


  • This is the ballad of lordly Dungannon set to the ring and the glitter of steel

  • Grandest of towns from the Bann to the Shannon

  • Linked with the conquering name of O’Neill

  • Grey are the walls unforgotten in story

  • Splendid the oaks and the evergreen-yew

  • Where Shane the Superb led the clansmen to glory

  • And fame crowned the banner of Owen and Hugh.

  • Heard ye that cry from  crest of Slievegallen

  • “Lambh dearg abu” ringing proudly and shrill?

  • Saw ye the squadrons from Moy and Clonallon

  • Sealing the slopes of the old Gallows Hill?

  • Down the North thro the wild Antrim passes

  • Up from the lakelands the valiant and leal 

  • Legions of spearmen and tall gallowglasses

  • Throng to Dungannon to strike with O’Neill.

  • Yonder where mist crowns the hills of Tyrconnell

  • Tumult of battle went rolling afar

  • Linked were the swords of O’Neill and O’Donnell

  • Whirling aflame mid the storm-cloud of war

  • Headlong their charge by the fords of Blackwater

  • Deathless their valour in many a fray

  • Concuerors still,while the red rain of slaughter

  • Crimsoned with splendour the waves of Lough Neagh.

  • This is the glory of ancient Dungannon

  • Shinning undimmed thro the fetterless years

  • Liberty sang from the throat of her cannon

  • Girt by the bayonets of brave volunteers

  • Grandly they mustered for Nation and Parliament 

  • Eager for Eirn to dare and to do

  • Sprang to the summons of Grattan and Charlemont

  • Chieftains courageous of famed ‘Eighty-two.

  • Shorn is the splendour of lordly Dungannon

  • Humbled her pride mid the hills of Tyrone 

  • Ruined the fortress and silent the cannon

  • Broken the swords that once girdled her throne

  • Low in the dust lie O’Neill and O’Donnell 

  • Pulseless forever their bosoms and chill

  • Scattered the clans of Tyrone and Tyrconnell

  • Quenched the war beacon on Cappagh’s lone hill.

  • When shall the cohorts of Freedom returning

  • Plant the Red Hand o’er thy turrets again?

  • When shall thy spirit, for Liberty yearning

  • Hear by Lough Eskar the marching of men?

  • Up from your torpor, ye sons of Dungannon!

  • Sound the wild slogan of “Lambh dearg abu!”

  • Mingle your songs with the roar of the cannon

  • Chanting the glories of Owen and Hugh.

Lament for the Death of Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill (Thomas Davis)

  • Did they dare, did they dare, to slay Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill?”
    “Yes, they slew with poison him they feared to meet with steel.”
    “May God wither up their hearts! May their blood cease to flow,”
    May they walk in living death, who poisoned Eoghan Ruadh.”

  • Though it break my heart to hear, say again the bitter words.”
    “From Derry, against Cromwell, he marched to measure swords:
    But the weapon of the Sacsanach met him on his way.
    And he died at Clogh Uachtar, upon St. Leonard’s day.

  • “Wail, wail ye for the Mighty One!—Wail, wail ye for the Dead!
    Quench the hearth, and hold the breath—with ashes strew the head.
    How tenderly we loved him. How deeply we deplore!
    Holy Saviour! But to think we shall never see him more.”

  • “Sagest in the council was he, kindest in the hall!
    Sure we never won a battle—”twas Owen won them all.
    Had he lived—had he lived—our dear country had been free;
    But he’s dead, but he’s dead, and ’tis slaves we’ll ever be.”

  • “O’Farrell and Clanricarde, Preston and Red Hugh,
    Audley and MacMahon, ye valiant, wises and true;
    But—what, what are ye all doing to our darling who is gone?
    The Rudder of our Ship was he, our Castle’s corner stone.”

  • “Wail, wail him through the Island! Weep, weep for our pride!
    Would that on the battle-field our gallant chief had died!
    Weep the Victor of Beann-bhorbh—weep him, young men and old;
    Weep for him, ye women—your beautiful lies cold!”

  • We thought you would not die—we were sure you would not go,
    And leave us in out utmost need to Cromwell’s cruel blow—
    Sheep without a shepherd, when the snow shuts our the sky—
    O! why did you leave us, Eoghan? Why did you die?”

  • “Soft as woman’s was your voice, O’Neill! Bright was your eye,
    O! why did you leave us, Eoghan? Why did you die?
    Your troubles are all over, you’re at rest with God on high,
    But we’re slaves, and we’re orphans, Eoghan!—why didst thou die?

Thomas Davis, a strong proponent of Irish nationalism, writes about the death of Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill in “Lament for the Death of Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill.” Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill (Owen Roe) was the nephew of the Hugh O’Neill. He acquired a great reputation while in the Spanish service and he came over to Ireland to aid the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish leaders who had formed the Catholic Confederation. He had the loyalty of the Gaelic but not of the Anglo-Irish party in the war of 1641–49. He died as Oliver Cromwell unified the English command in Ireland, and it was believed that he had been poisoned. He is buried in an island in Lough Oughter in Cavan.The utterance is supposed to be made by one of O’Neill’s clansmen who is in Ormonde’s camp in the south, and who hears of O’Neill’s death from a messenger who has come into the camp. “The Lament for the Death of Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill” was the first ballad Thomas Davis wrote—with it he initiated a movement in Irish verse that lasted for a long time.


A calypso, composed by Cookstown teacher Mr Cullen ,and performed by pupils of St Mary’s at their annual concert in 1959


Refrain-We’ll bring you the news,we’d like you to hear, of events that happened throughout the year.

The year began as it always will, with every post bringing many a bill

“Money talks” is the well known cry, all it says to us just “Goodbye.

Coal prices went up tho’ the merchants’ moan. You could bet a ton with a new bank loan

What England sends is all third rate, we should really get it “on the slate”.


The Bookies moan because they’d to pay, for a licence to work in a legal way

Grand new premises- it’s really swank, but punters still find it takes the tank.

They’re opening new schools far an’ near, and we’ll get one so never fear

We’ve no Academics of higher art, but a poker school or two would make you smart.


In the Gaelic world there was a shock, Tyrone’s good fortunes took a knock

But in Derry’s victories there’s nothing shoddy, they couldn’t go wrong with McKeever and Roddy.

Did we mention the summer? maybe we’d better, tho’ there’ve been bad ones there’ll be no wetter

If the sun’s the king, we’re afraid the refrain, was slightly mis-spelled in “Long may he rain”.


For the star of T.V they asked us to vote, and for our money ’twas “Peggy the goat”

She wasn’t a thin ‘un she wasn’t a fat ‘un, but McGinty’s now second to John McElhatton.

Animals in rockets in outer space! the yanks and Russians lead the race

The moon’s the target but surely the know, a cow jumped over it years ago.


Christmas came and then it went, it left us broken or slightly bent

A win in the “non-stop” would put us right, but it went to the Rock again the other night.

We could talk of exams or the Qualifying, but the show must go on and time is flying

Skiffle is over-the very last group, hung poor Tom Dooley with a hula hoop.


MURYNEL ( Charles Quin)

In Murynel, where my heart is,
The fields are fair;
The whinny hills are yellow
As a cailin’s hair;
In wisps of sun-slit silver
The mists hangs low,
Where purple stains the heather,
And the bog- flowers grow

But not for green o’ meadow
My heart craves still;
Ah, not for gold or purple
Of heath or hill !
The silver o’ the bog-mist
Is nought to me,
Nor any flower in Murnyel
Where the wind sings free.

A weeny cot my thought is
All else above;
In dreams I seek its threshold,
My nest of love.
I’ll travel far to find her
Who dwells within ——
To Murynel, where my heart is,
It’s pearl to win.


  • I long for a cow of modern make that milks,, five days for leisure sake,

  • That sleeps on Saturday, snores on Sunday, and starts afresh again on Monday.

  • I wish for a herd that knows the way, to wash each other every day

  • That never bothers to excite us with b abortus or mastitis.

  • I pray each week-end, loud and clear less work to do from year to year

  • And cows that reach production peak, all in a five day working week.

  • I look for B.Ag.’s by the mob, to guide the breeders at their job,

  • And show these stupid fellows how to propagate a five-day cow.


THE GREAT DROUGHT 1959 ( Hugh Convery ,Hugh won a picnic hamper for writing this piece)


  • Now Dungannon is out of the very last woman

  • By the Gallow’s Hill Quarry Lane and Low Road they’re coming 

  • And each brings her wee son and wee daughter

  • Who can carry her home a pint of Spring Water.

  • With jugs and with mugs, with buckets and can,

  • With tins, and with bins, with pots and with pans,

  • With bottles of all sizes, and all shapes, they make haste,

  • And with everything else that will hold the last taste.

  • Some rush to the well in Loy’s  field situated

  • Others dash to the fount near the Crossing located

  • Each one on securing Spring Water is bent

  • And all are agreed that their time is well spent.

  • So in glasses and vases, in jampots and flasks,

  • In urns and in churns, in kegs and in casks,

  • The waters brought home for self and for neighbour,

  • And in tea that it makes is well worth the labour 


CHRISTMAS NIGHT! (Mary J.Woods Castleview Dgn, December 1970)


  • Silver snowfakes falling softly on the silent earth below

  • Sleepy people gaze in wonder, as their lamps they light aglow

  • Tall trees glisten in the frost-light, lakes and rivers sparkle bright,

  • Ah! such wondrous beauty near us, on this happy Christmas Night.

  • A stable, dark and cold and bare, in a crib little babe lies there.

  • Mary watches o’er her child, Christ is born so meek so mild

  • Joseph kneels in adoration, at the gift of God’s creation:

  • The donkey and the ox, breathe forth warmly on the babe:

  • The bells toll out around the world, and still the tidings ring

  • A saviour’s born at Bethlehem, for he is Christ the King.


THE IRISH EXILE! (T.R Darperstown 1959)


  • I sit here in exile, far o’er the sea, and I think of my loved ones, long parted from me.

  • Where the green grass and clover and soft breezes play, amid the shamrocks of Ireland, on each summers day.

  • My old mother’s knittin’, I picture her now, an my father is sweatin’ behind the old horse and plough,

  • I miss the smell of the clear country air, I miss the gay laughter as tho’ never a care.

  • Crept neath the thatch roof, so far now from me-far away in auld Ireland, where I long to be.

  • The pale rays oe eve’n’ are paintin’the sky, and my thoughts once more speedily fly

  • To a turf fire in Ireland, where the fiddle an’ song, are praisin’ auld Ireland for doin’ no wrong.

  • I can hear footsteps dancin’ all roun’ the floor, I can see the oul’/faces coming through the half door

  • Far North as oul’ Derry, or South as Tralee, my heart aches for Ireland, where I long to be.

  • And when night comes, and the lamp’s turned down low, they all kneel down by the fire’s dying glow,

  • They pray for the mission- they pray for me, far away from oul’ Ireland, where I long to be.

  • Many long miles, o’er the wild windy sea, breezes are calling and echoing to me

  • They bring a message familiar to me, to go back to Ireland, where I long to be.

  • Take my advice all you young men- stay in oul’ Ireland in your green Irish glen

  • Where the shamrock grows, and the smell of new hay, won’t be missed till you leave it, as I do to- day.


 LOUGH NEAGH (TUNE GALWAY BAY) Dungannon Observer 16/1/1960

  • Maybe some day soon I’ll go back again to Lurgan

  • Be it in the month of April or in May.

  • I will walk around the Tarry on a Sunday

  • To see the Clan Eireann team come out to play

  • I will meet some friends that once I knew in boyhood

  • And we will stand and chat of bygone happy days

  • When we strolled down the road towards Clanrolla

  • That is washed by enchanted waters of Lough Neagh.

  • No more across the seas I’ll wish to wander

  • For alone in foreign lands I’ve had my day

  • I’ll sit instead and tell my tales of travel

  • To the children as from school they come to play

  • I will bless the ship that takes me back to Ireland

  • From the deck I’ll see the dawning of the day

  • Then I’ll kneel and thank my God who in His mercy

  • Would let me end my days beside Lough Neagh.

(F.J McCabe Esq 113 The Albany, Albany Road, Camberwell, London, S.E 5


MEMORIES OF MOY ( SueMac: April 7/2016 ) 


  • Memories of my beloved Ireland

    Comes drifting slowly by

    The longing hits me

    between my heart

    Of my home that’s called the Moy.

  • Sandy Lane I remember you well

    A place where lovers used to dwell

    Somewhere we often went to hide

    To our parents, we surely lied

    This place to every girl and boy

    So secret no one could deny.

  • That little bungalow on the hill

    I’m sad to say it’s not there still

    With all us Kids and Mam an Dad

    The happiest memories we ever had.

  • So safe a place this used to be

    There was no call for lock nor key

    That little place that we called town

    No gun nor pillage was to be found.

  • We heard that England was so bad

    We were uprooted by Mam and Dad

    And so we left the safeness of our Moy

    Just the clothes on our back, not even a toy.

  • And onto a boat set for England we

    Travelled the stormy seas, no longer free

    To live in a land of strangers more

    As I look back to my Ireland’s shore.

  • No more running to Bookless’s sweet shop

    Or to Mrs Shields for a wee bottle of pop

    No more Dr. Hobson, who I absolutely adored

    many times treated me in my home at the Redford

    Many times he visited me at the Redford.

  • For I was rather a sick little child, you see

    Drs in Dungannon Seemed to know me

    I helped the nurses with their rounds

    I was no stranger to hospital grounds.

  • I remember the day that I started school

    I didn’t take it serious, I just played the fool

    Being left handed appeared to be rough

    Miss Donnelley, made my days very tough.

  • Down the Grange Road on that big tree

    We would swing for hours so endlessly

    Loved when the gypsies came to stay

    With their kids who we would often play.

  • And in the meadow when the gypsies came

    We’d play with Sonny, yea, that was his name

    But they were travellers they’d soon move on

    We’d go down to the meadow, but they were gone.

  • The camp fire out the place deserted
    They’d moved on, no one was alerted

    Skinned hands, skinned knees upon the Pound Wall
    Where we’d walk and topple and eventually fall.

  • Every Saturday daddy took us to the Surley River

    For our weekly “bath” until we would shiver

    One arm one leg he’d swing us around

    Then throw us in without a sound

    He didn’t care if we would sink or swim

    He’d laugh his head off and just throw us in.

  • To Fox’s Fields way down Limekill Road

    Strawberries we would pick by the load

    Of course we got paid by Mr. fox

    The wage depended on how many a box

    But oh how I loved them strawberries so

    More went in my mouth don’t you know.

  • But when my weekly wages they finally came

    To mom I’d hand, & hang my head with shame

    Susie wasn’t thinking clearly no doubt

    For that money was to help the family out.

  • Sunday Mass, you see,was the main event

    Every Sunday for sure and all through Lent

    Benediction at six, I remember it very well

    Was worth the miles we walked just for the smell.

  • Going to Grannies for a visit out at Dree

    Up to Dans for a visit with Mommy and me

    I loved it there we’d go an play

    But the McKearney boys would chase us away

    Johnny, Peter oh and Danny who I loved so

    While the others scared us, he’d always let me go.

  • The day we loved the most was Saturday afternoon

    To the Pictures we’d go to see Cowboys or a cartoon

    Still I’ll admit it was a long trek

    Three miles there. Three miles back

    Sixpence in and thruppence for a treat

    So we could sit in the Pictures content in our seat.


A WOMAN’S SOUL IS IMMORTAL BUT HER BUST IS IMPORTANT, TOO (By Joe Roe ) Dungannon Observer  11/4/1970

  • Modern advertising calls for skills every kind,

  • Staff with creativity are pretty hard to find.

  • Yet over fifty years ago one flourished in Tyrone,

  • For copy-writing genius Mr Clancy stands alone.

  • Proprietor of a draper’s shop

  • And honoured as J.P

  • He seldom used his awful powers,

  • Preferred to set men free.

  • Once, ladies’ blouses offered him

  • Seemed foolish to refuse,

  • They flattered women’s bosoms 

  • Though made in ghastly hues.

  • The wholesale price was laughable,

  • “Ten shillings!” thought the boss,

  • “You’d have to be a bloody fool

  • To spin and loose the toss.”

  • He bought a thousand dozen sets

  • In hues from puce to pink

  • His less enthusiastic spouse

  • Groaned “Money down the sink.”

  • Well, sales exceeded wildest dreams 

  • Each female in the town

  • Snapped them up in two’s and three’s-

  • Some even favoured brown!

  • The styles, mind you, were not that smart,

  • “Old fashioned.” you might say,

  • And yet they promised other charms,

  • That caused the girls to pay,

  • What made young wives and spinsters old 

  • Mad anxious to buy?

  • What made them rush to hurry home

  • The full effect to try ?

  • The brand name was the secret

  • That lured from Maghera to Moy,

  • He christened them craftily.

  • The name he choose? “Mountjoy!”


Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
(by Thomas Ashe ) Dungannon Observer  18/11/1960 

“The Last Poem of Thomas Ashe” written in Lewes Jail, England

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
The hour of her trial draws near,
And the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice
May be borne by comrades dear.


But, Lord, take me from the offering throng,
There are many far less prepared,
Through anxious and all as they are to die
That Ireland may be spared.


Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
My cares in this world are few.
And few are the tears will for me fall
When I go on my way to You.


Spare. Oh! Spare to their loved ones dear
The brother and son and sire.
That the cause we love may never die
In the land of our Heart’s desire!


Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
Let me suffer the pain and shame
I bow my head to their rage and hate,
And I take on myself the blame.


Let them do with my body whate’er they will,
My spirit I offer to You.
That the faithful few who heard her call
May be spared to Roisin Dubh.


Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
For Ireland weak with tears,
For the aged man of the clouded brow,
And the child of tender years;


For the empty homes of her golden plains;
For the hopes of her future, Too!
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
for the cause of Roisin Dubh.

Christmas Night in Ireland ( Joseph McGarrity) Dungannon Observer  23/12/1961

  • On Christmas night in Ireland

  • There’s a silence on the hills

  • And a glow of exaltation

  • Your soul with fervour fills.

  • The meal chest may be empty,

  • And children’s feet be bare,

  • But faith and hope transcend all want

  • And banish all your care.

  • While sitting at her humble board

  • I heard a mother say:

  • “May God be with the children 

  • Tonight that’s far away.

  • ‘Tis now ten years since Patrick went,

  • He was but seventeen;

  • And Mary too, she followed him,

  • As lovely as a queen.

  • And Mick went next, so straight and tall,

  • He used to serve at Mass;

  • And Kate,-the boys would stand aside

  • And wait to see her pass.

  • And Jack went next; his big  brown eyes

  • So innocent and mild-

  • He left such sorrow in my heart 

  • I thought I would go wild!

  • A few short years and Joseph went,

  • His shoulders big and broad ;

  • I knelt upon the snowy ground 

  • And prayed aloud to God.

  • To guide him to his journey’s end

  • Across this mighty sea;

  • And now my youngest girl and boy

  • Are all that’s left to me.

  • Well, Peter’s going to Latin school-

  • Please God, some future day

  • He’ll offer up the Holy Mass

  • For those that’s far away!

  • The good man feels the weight of years

  • God give him strength and grace

  • To struggle through to better days

  • And not to lose the place.”

  • And then her voice a moment ceased:

  • She wiped away a tear,

  • I musing thought, dear God Thy grace

  • Tonight is surely here.

  • She said ” God bless these gifts of Thine

  • And bless us too we pray:

  • And bless the children one and all

  • Tonight that’s far away.”




.Anthony Fox | Create your badge

7 thoughts on “Poems,Ballads &Limericks and a song or two !!!

  1. Pingback: Poems,Ballads &Limericks and a song or two !!! | Listamlet ,Listamlaght | Listamlet ,Listamlaght

  2. Pingback: Poems,Ballads &Limericks and a song or two !!! | Listamlet ,Listamlaght

  3. I loved the poems Anthony. I will save them. I do have the book of the Rev Marshall’s poems. It has a special place in my bookcase. as a matter of fact i was visiting my friend Felix Dolan two days before he died but he asked me to recite marshalls poem “The Big Trout” Felix was an avid fisherman. RIP

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thanks Gene I’ve lots to add ,some have a name who penned it and others not ,it’s a shame to have them sitting in an archive ,where no one can see them and enjoy them ,Is the poem above, “TYRONE” by Marshall is it in your book,?It’s just i got it out of a 1960’s Newspaper and it mentioned it wasn’t printed and that Marshall’s sister had sent it in to them ,a very poignant comment about your friend Felix Dolan(RIP) ,thanks again Gene for stopping in …


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