James Duffy

Old Moore’s Almanac

Elegiac charade by Patrick Tunney, Derrykillew, Westport

to the memory of the late James Duffy, Prospect, Westport. He joined the West Mayo Brigade at its inception and died fighting for Ireland.

My heart throbs light, my hopes are bright when I think of Rosaleen,
And her gallant sons who dared big guns in defense of the emerald sheen.
In town and cave her soldiers brave were fast to wield a blow,
But none more true for Róisín Dhu than Duffy of Mayo.
With a valiant heart he did his part, he answered freedom’s call,
And joined the fight with all his might prepared to win or fall.
He stood the test, he did his best, he feared no Saxon foe,
On the firing line his sword did shine, brave Duffy of Mayo.
“I’ll man my gun, I’ll still fight on, and freedoms sun I’ll see,
Or my life I’ll give that my land might live in realms great and free.
To tyrants cruel or to British rule my head I’ll never bow,
‘Til Pearse’s flag is on every crag,” said Duffy of Mayo.
Though of youthful years, in the volunteers his rivals were but few,
Of noble mind, with truth combined, he loved poor Róisín Dhu.
Like a soldier brave his life he gave, to oust a treacherous foe,
‘Gainst shot and shell, he fought and fell great Duffy of Mayo.
May the angels guard his soul with love, may his home be a home of joy,
To-day he sleeps whilst Éire weeps, the fate of her soldier boy.
As Éire’s friend his name we’ll defend whilst summers come and go,
And in prose and lays we’ll tout the praise of Duffy of Mayo.

On The Plains Of Kildare 

Old Moore’s Almanac

By Patrick Tunney, Derrykillew, Westport
Enigma dedicated to the brothers McGormac, Drumrainey;
John Mannion, Tuam and all my Curragh Camp colleagues of 1921.

Here’s to some comrades whose names I revere,
That I met when on furlough in County Kildare,
Who shared all their comforts so free with me,
And with Paddy Mulervy of Ballinalee.
Yes, we shared in the pleasures as well as the joys,
Of Killane and the rest of the brave Longford boys,
And when sweed for chattels were hard to secure,
We’d call to some hut to see Rory O’Moore.
We’d search for Con Fogarty near the canteen,
With big Willie Fergus who hailed from Culleen,
Or we’d see McNamara the brave Limerick boy,
With Bill Spooner or Mooney or Michael McCoy.
Then here’s to Tom Newcombe from fair Carramore;
Hugh Reid and Tom Burke from beloved Aughagore;
William Burke and McNulty from famed Burrishoole,
Tom Frain from Clonbur and Mick Murphy from Shrule.
John Elliott from Glasson and the tailor Ned Rock,
And the Donohue brothers from old Castlebrock,
“Lord” Maloney of Annfield who’d charm us all,
When he’d tell of O’Dwyer the night in Imaal.
Tom Duke of Fingal who might sing us a song,
To amuse Peadar Waldron, the rebel from Cong,
Big Paddy Mahon who’d give us a “fill,”
‘Til we’d meet with Tom Confrey from lovely Mohill.
Then here’s to Mullaney and fearless MacBreen,
Joe Fergus, Tom Shannon and the heroes of Shreen,
Success to those brave boys where’er they may be,
By the Robe, by the Shannon or down by the Lee.
I send them a tout from the hills of Mayo,
For services rendered in dungeons of woe;
The joys that I wish them are many and fair,
For their kindness to me on the plains of Kildare.

The Dawn Of Twenty-Two

Banba sung her songs of gladness,
When her sons were on parade,
Her heart was pierced with woe and sadness,
When her honour was betrayed,
The I.R.A. was bold and darin’,
Full of valour, pure and true,
But serfs dishonoured Mother Érin,
At the dawn of twenty-two.
Banba fought ‘gainst legions hoary,
Lest her gems might fade away,
In the vanguard of her glory,
Marched the fearless I.R.A.
Crime was lurking in dark dungeons,
‘Neath the red, and white and blue,
Faithless sons were madly plunging,
At the dawn of twenty-two.
Banba shrieked ‘mid desolation,
Tears bedewed the verdant sod,
As Staters marched in mass formation,
With British steel and firing squad,
She dreaded not the cold invader,
Whilst her trusted ones were true,
Sneaks and cowards had betrayed her,
At the dawn of twenty-two.
Now Irishmen can tell a story,
’Bout famed Ballyseedy cross,
Tuam, Athlone, Drumboe and Gorey,
Clashmealcon Caves or famed New Ross,
Remember Mellows and O’Connor,
Childers brave and Cathal Brugha,
They gave their lives for Ireland’s honour,
When freedom shucked in twenty-two.

Lally and O’Malley, Islandeady

Fair Islandeady dons her crepe,
Her mourning garb is on,
For her gallant sons who faced vile Huns,
And fell in Twenty-One.

Thomas Whelan

Thomas Whelan was born in Clifden, Co. Galway. He was charged and found guilty of the death of an army prosecutor, Captain G.T. Baggallay, who had been a member of courts that sentenced Dick McKee and others to death on Bloody Sunday (1920). Whelan, who was just 22 years old, was executed with five others in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin on March 14, 1921 where a crowd, estimated at 40,000 had gathered outside. 

‘Mid Connemara’s soaring peaks,
We’ll oppose the Saxon crown.
Whilst Whelan’s name lights the hills of fame,
True son of Clifden town.

Jim McEvilly, Castlebar

When historians bright will write of the fight,
Of Ireland’s weary war,
Of their toil of fame they’d praise the name,
Of McEvilly from Castlebar.

Mick O’Brien From Cong

In May 1921, the South Mayo Brigade I.R.A., under the leadership of Tom Maguire, launched a surprise attack in Tourmakeady on a group of R.I.C. and Black and Tans, inflicting severe losses. Mick O’Brien was shot and killed when he ran to assist the injured Tom Maguire. A Celtic Cross in Cong Abbey marks the resting place of Michael O’Brien.

Cloud enshrouds the Partry hills,
Hushed is the linnets’ song,
Whilst we all murmur like the rills,
For Mick O’Brien from Cong.
In early youth within the fold,
He took his part among,
The serried ranks of Fenians bold,
Great Mick O’Brien from Cong.
He played his part with valour brave,
And joined the martyred throng,
Tho’ now he sleeps by Mask’s broad waves,
Great Mick O’Brien from Cong.
His life should be to us a guide,
As ages glide along,
To proudly stand by Banba’s side,
Like Mick O’Brien from Cong.
Let us pursue the paths he trod,
And march, a million strong,
To serve our country and our God,
Like Mick O’Brien from Cong.

John Maguire, The Hero From Cong

On February 19, 1923, John McGuire, was charged and found guilty at Galway Jail with possession of a rifle and ammunition at Cluid, Headford without proper authority and was sentenced to death.

Peaceful, celestial and calm in his sleep,
In the realms of virtue and song,
As a martyr he fell, Ah, then why should we weep,
For Maguire, the hero from Cong.
When the slogan resounded he answered the call,
That freedom our land may regain,
He strove to uplift her from serfdom and thrall,
When he fought ‘neath the flag of Sinn Féin.
No nation e’er rendered a soldier more brave,
He knew not the shadow of gloom,
He dreaded not pitch-cap or scaffold or grave,
But surrendered his life in its bloom.
When the Tans were assailed on the shores of Lough Mask,
By Irishmen, all valiant and true,
Maguire was there to accomplish a task,
In defence of his loved Róisín Dhu.
He cherished the dreams of the free to the last,
Of labours did freely partake,
He said “All the lives of our hero’s not lost,
When given for Liberty’s sake.”
He gave his young life for the land of his love,
For her sake he has chosen the grave,
May his soul rest in peace in realms above,
While his name’s on the Roll of the Brave.
Adown through the ages that name we’ll revere,
May it light coming heroes along,
A lisp, a short prayer with a feeling sincere,
For Maguire, the hero from Cong.

Commandant Clinton

Jim Clinton was involved in the Newport Ambush of Free State troops in 1923.

Dear Clinton, true soldier, I miss you today,
For your soul, with devotion I fervently pray.
Though I sing your Requiem, I grieve your demise,
‘Til Ireland from slavery will truly arise.
As a soldier of Érin you took a great stand,
‘Gainst the might and the throes of a cruel sordid band.
Your zeal and your prowess did fan Tans surprise,
That Ireland from slavery would truly arise.
When Banba lay sleeping quiet; dormant and cold,
A flame you entorched ‘neath the green, white and gold.
That the powers of England will ne’er anglicise,
That Ireland from slavery might truly arise.
You battled for freedom right true to the core,
When the Tans were assailed on the heights of Shramore.
By Skirdagh and Furness your prayers rent the skies,
That Ireland from slavery might truly arise.
Your fight was for Ireland, a fight for the cause,
You feared not machine guns or cruel Saxon laws.
You fought against the traitors and tyrants and spies,
That Ireland from slavery might truly arise.
In cold British dungeons, encompassed by fear,
You scorned the dangling of bright glistening spears.
You, still persevered, there was no compromise,
‘Til Ireland from slavery would truly arise.
No more will you martial your brave fighting men,
No more will you skirmish o’er the mountain or glen.
No, Gránua’s vast legions you’ll ne’er mobilize,
Though Ireland from slavery will truly arise.
No more will you strike for your county and God,
With the peal of your rifle by Nephin’s green sod.
For nigh Nephin’s cold bosom your stilled body lies,
‘Til Ireland from slavery will truly arise.
May your spirit inspire the men of to-day,
To carry your banner unsullied away.
May your slogan, untainted, re-echo the skies,
‘Til Ireland from slavery will truly arise.
I pray that loved Ireland may always have men,
Who’ll long for the sunburst o’er mountain and glen.
That no Saxon intriguing could e’er by hypnotise,
‘Til Ireland from slavery will truly arise.
Calm be your sleep in bright regions of rest,
Away from fair Newport, the place you loved the best.
May your soul rest in peace and home ‘yond the skies,
And that Ireland from slavery may truly arise.

Cushlough Boys

Air:  Seán O’Farrell
Come all you loyal Irish boys wherever you may stand,
Think of your lovely mountains and bonnie Ireland.
Although you are gone foreign my blessing on you pour,
Who loved your dear ancestors on lovely Leenane shore.
On the 15th day of August a meeting was held there,
Ó Máille from Kilmilkin to it he did prepare.
He gazed upon the mountains he so often travelled o’er,
But now he is in Parliament far, far from Leenane shore.
The leaguers from all places came to listen to the speech,
The street was filled with bonnier and small boats on the beach.
They sailed all over the Killary as they often did before,
For the navy and the sailors both land on Leenane shore.
And drawing near the famous town I heard the leaguers say,
When the Galway grazers saw them come they all ran away.
They thought it was Paul Knuger and all his fighting horde,
Who came here to kill all grazers that day in Leenane shore.
Those were the friends and neighbours that you may plainly see,
That started out that morning from Carrakennedy.
So the grabber and the grazer were divided to the core,
By Ó Máille and his Cushlough boys that day on Leenane shore.

This poem is either written by Patrick Tunney or to him.

Michael Kilroy

While we talk of the brave men who fought for Ireland a nation once more,
The ones whom we’re told died as martyrs and thousands in jail suffered sore,
There is one whom we all love and honour tho’ some say he was a bad boy,
For his country he fought like a hero the fearless undaunted Kilroy.


Then here’s to the brave Michael Kilroy who of bullets was never afraid,
He was always the last in retreating when leading the West Mayo Brigade.
In Kilmeena our boys suffered sorely outnumbered by rifles and men,
Poor Brown he got shot safely fighting while the others got safely away,
But Kilroy swore for Brown and Kilmeena the foe men would dearly pay,
He fired his last parting volley and his foes sure he bid them good bye.
In sorrowing thoughts to the dear ones who in cold embracement did lie,
The news went around in Skirdarragh the rebels lay wounded and sore,
Said Kilroy to his bold C.I.D. men, the rebels when tired will sleep,
Who’ll volunteer now for to take them and drive them to Newport like sheep.
But hush what’s that sound at John O’Malley’s it seems like the sound of a gun,
Quick give the alarm thro’ Skirdarragh get the boys up together and run,
Kilroy got his men up together sending some with the wounded away,
But Brown he got shot in the shoulder that sent him down safely to bay.

Tom Behan

Whilst Meelray’s peaks are looking down,
On Aashleigh’s waterfall.
The daring feats of Behan brave,
Will Gránua’s sons recall.
Then weep ye not, but raise as one,
That time will ne’er decay.
This memory in the hearts shall burn,
Of Irishmen for aye.

Joseph Gill

The Mayo News

Written by Patrick Tunney on Christmas Day, 1928  special to the “Mayo News” Westport, in perpetuation of the sacred memory of the late Josie Gill, The Quay, Westport, who in 1916 suffered much for the sake of slavery-bound Rosaleen;

when banished from Ireland he was a man amongst men.  Pray for his Eternal reward. May he rest in Peace. Dedicated to his compatriots  P. J. Doris, Edward Haran, Owen Hughes, Manus Keane, etc, by Patrick Tunney, Cushlough.

Grief’s clouds o’ershadow Westport Town; it dons its crepe to-day,
And sorrow looms ‘round every home by the waters of Clew Bay.
Amouring for an exiled son, who in death’s embrace lies, still;
A zealous son, a trusted one; true-hearted, Josie Gill.
In death’s embrace he calmly sleeps; being of a worthy clan,
A valiant hero; fearless, brave, a soldier and a man.
Whose love poured for his native land as constant as a rill,
Whose heart throbbed true for freedom’s light, undaunted, Josie Gill.
When Érin’s tocsin loudly rang, in glorious Sixteen,
‘Neath the battle-brand of freedom’s sun, the Orange, White and Green.
Then Mayo’s sons assembled on the slopes of Farnaught Hill,
And the first to answer Banba’s Call was the fearless, Josie Gill.
The Felon’s Crown was his reward in many dreary jails;
He, torture bore for Ireland’s sake in Frongoch Camp, North Wales.
He dreaded not oppression’s might, undaunted was his will,
Cruel British dungeons, held no fear for Josie Gill.
In fetters bound, poor Éire weeps for her exiled soldiers, brave,
For her banished sons and daughters fair, who were forced to cross the wave.
And She’s calling; ever calling, with the call clear and shrill,
“Irishmen, fill Ireland’s Ranks, with men like Josie Gill”
But, a sordid band holds Éire bound in subjugation, vile,
Britannia’s Rule still dominates throughout our sundered Isle.
Our Sacred Trust bemoans to-day for extermination’s thrill,
Deprives us of our trusted ones, of men like, Josie Gill.
Calm be your sleep, my comrade dear; God give you peace to-day,
May your soul find rest ‘mongst Ireland’s dead, this holy Christmas Day.
May your spirit lead misguided men; it was God’s Holy Will,
Consigned you to an exile’s grave, was true hearted, Josie Gill.

The Colour Of The Coat I Wear

Old Moore’s Almanac

Dedicated by Patrick Tunney late of Westport, Mayo

I hail historic County Meath, the woodlands of Mayo,
The soaring peaks of Donegal and the Glens of Aherlow.
Those lovely haunts are dear to me, the scenes all fresh and fair,
But far dearer to my aching heart is the colour of the coat I wear.
I love the colour of the coat I wear, its shades of emerald green,
All bound with white and golden braid, ‘twould enrobe the proudest Queen.
The stars at night may change their light o’er the gloom of a war-threat flare,
But whatever I’ll do, I’ll still be true to the colour of the coat I wear.
I got this gift from my Dad’s hand in the golden long ago,
When hope beamed high in Irish hearts ‘mongst the vales of fair Mayo.
He said “My boy, you must face the world and of luck you must take your share,
But whatever you’ll do, I trust you’ll be true to the colour of the coat you wear.”
So I’ll never change the colour of the coat I wear, though with years it’s growing old,
The emerald sheen is bound with white and interlaced with gold.
I may change my plans as others do in the world of strife and care,
But whatever I’ll do I’ll still be true to the colour of the coat I wear.
I may steer my barque o’er the crested waves to the lands of the Rising Sun,
Or end my days in an Irish vale when the toils of life are done.
I may soar to the peaks of wealth or fame; or bend ‘neath a load of care,
But whatever I’ll do, I’ll still be true to the colour of the coat I wear.
The style was donned by Rory’s men on the braes of Mullinahone,
By Oulart’s sons in other days and the boys of Garryowen.
Beneath its folds must Banba march whilst foemen grimly stare,
Then whatever I’ll do, I’ll still be true to the colour of the coat I wear.
Oh! I love the colour of the coat I wear, the hues of emerald green,
All bound with white and golden braid, and fit for a King or Queen.
The ways of right may change to might ‘neath the gloom of a war threat flare,
But whatever I’ll do, I’ll never change the colour of the coat I wear.

My Little Wee Hut In Kildare

I am here in the camp like a felon in dungeons of sorrow and woe,
Some say it is for rebellion against a most treacherous foe.
I once as a rebel was hiding on the hillsides of Mayo so fair,
But faith I am now law abiding in a little wee hut in Kildare.
Some says it is for flag-waving I’m held with an iron claw,
And some says it is for behaving contravensive to order and law.
But Hamer says ‘tis to advise me that I was doing wrongs everywhere,
So he thought that he might civilise me in a little wee hut in Kildare.
The measures applied are most drastic well rendered with cold Saxon steel,
You would want a conscience elastic for the force of the iron heel.
Barbed wire says revile MacReady will keep all those evil shinners there,
So the bayonets were all at the ready ‘round my little wee hut in Kildare
The gloom of the camp was appalling when the shades of the evening will fall,
If any man fails at roll calling, there’s plenty of trouble for all.
I see as my lines I am scrolling, Tommy Atkins parading the square,
All night to and fro, he’s patrolling ‘round my little wee hut in Kildare.

The Memory Of My Father

Old Moore’s Almanac,

Elegy sacredly dedicated to the memory of my father (Thomas Tunney),who died in 1916, addressed to Mary Tunney, Philadelphia. Written in the Curragh of Kildare, 1921

In lone Cushlough you’re sleeping,
Six long weary years,
Whilst I am sadly weeping;
In this dark vale of tears.
For your dear soul I pray with love,
That God may grant you peace;
We soon may meet in realms above,
Of life we hold no lease.
For some this world had charms rare,
But I am here to sigh;
With one cherished hope to meet there,
In a blissful home on high.
This world is all a passing show,
Life here a mortal story,
Where we come to live a span in woe,
Encompasses by vain glory.
In this vale our life is but a span,
Like you we’ll soon be clay;
Ah, helpless is poor mortal man,
God rest your soul for aye.

The Desecrated Curragh Of Kildare

There are mountains in Mayo,
Verdant glens in Aherlow,
Broad and fertile meads in Limerick and in Clare,
The most dismal place of all,
From Cape Clear to Donegal,
Is the desecrated Curragh of Kildare.
God bless the fighting men of Érin,
God rest the heroes of Sixteen,
Who faced the firing squad,
For their country and their God,
Whilst they hoisted high the orange, white and green.
Oh, the heartless Saxon Huns,
With their tanks and long range guns,
Were parading “Irish rebels” on the square,
Giving orders vile and mean,
Chiding my Dark Rosaleen,
On the desecrated Curragh of Kildare.
There were many valiant men,
In that steel surrounded den,
From each county of the land, we still revere,
For the green, the white and gold,
Their endurance is untold,
On the desecrated Curragh of Kildare.
In the holy month of May,
Castle orders come each day,
To suppress the hearts of fearless heroes there,
But the spirits grew more strong,
Of that patriotic throng,
On the desecrated Curragh of Kildare.
It surpasses me in song,
To sing bays of every wrong,
How the battle on to victory was mann’d,
How they dared the foreign foes,
Not one secret they’d disclose,
Whilst encompassed by the belots of our land.
From the camp by night and day,
Rounded forth the I.R.A.
For the wrath of English might did not care,
No, those men would never yield,
On the mountain, slope of field,
On the desecrated Curragh of Kildare.


Written by Patrick Tunney, Cushlough while a prisoner in Rath, Curragh Camp, Kildare, 1921

I’m longing, ever longing,
Longing for lone West Mayo.
With its rills and lofty mountains,
Heath-clad hills and gushing fountains.
Ah, my heart is ever longing,
To be back in West Mayo.
I’m longing, ever longing,
Longing for another day.
When upon the field of danger,
I could face the Saxon stranger.
Ah, my heart is ever longing,
For the gleam of Freedom’s ray.
I’m longing, ever longing,
Longing for my comrades dear.
Who’re now fighting hard for freedom,
Gallant soldiers, May God speed them.
Ah, my heart is ever longing,
For the goal that I revere.
I’m longing, ever longing,
Longing ‘til we break the chain.
That surrounds my native Ireland,
Holds in bondage mother Ireland.
Ah, my heart is ever longing,
‘Til we burst its links entwain.
I’m longing, ever longing,
Longing for the coming day.
When our Nation, ever glorious,
Will be happy and victorious.
Ah, my heart is ever longing,
To be free from Saxon sway.
I’m longing, ever longing,
Longing for the Golden Ray.
Irish Freedom, Independent,
Won’t the luster be resplendent.
Ah, my heart is ever longing,
God to grant the happy day.

Hamar’s Lament

Air: “Seán O’Farrell”

In 1920, Hamar Greenwood became the last Chief Secretary for Ireland, the principal minister responsible for Irish affairs. He introduced the infamous Black and Tans to Ireland. In this poem, Patrick Tunney pokes fun at both Hamar Greenwood and Captain John Taylor (Assistant Under-Secretary in Dublin Castle) over the embarrassment that “the prisoners are escaping from the Curragh Camp.”

“Oh, come tell me now” says Greenwood, of the latest news you’ve got,
How the prisoners are escaping from the Curragh Camp at Rath.
“It is” says Captain Taylor, “Through a tunnel, I declare,
For we cannot keep the rebels, in the Curragh of Kildare.
In the Curragh of Kildare, in the Curragh of Kildare,
Faith we cannot keep the rebels, in the Curragh of Kildare.
They will be passed controlling soon, those lawless rebels clans,
By the way they knocked our barracks down and killed our Black and Tans.
We have many deadly weapons and barbed wire everywhere,
And still they are escaping from the Curragh of Kildare.
Oh, they burned our Dublin Custom House and wrecked our courts of law,
Then before we are all slaughtered, says Hamar “we’ll withdraw.”
They went underground like rabbits, when captured in a snare,
And still they are escaping from the Curragh of Kildare.
Then they mobilised great ruffian gangs, as you can plainly see,
To kill our darling bards and our gorgeous R.I.C.
King George may protect us, we are driven to despair,
For we cannot keep the rebels, in the Curragh of Kildare.

The Rebel’s Bride

Old Moore’s Almanac

Prize charade by Patrick Tunney.

Life ebbed with joy when I was a boy ‘mid the vales of fair Mayo,
When first I sighed for the light of Right, for freedom’s reddening glow,
I was hunted Ireland up and down, ahiding here and there,
‘Til Cupid’s dart enchained my heart for Flora from Belclare.
When first I met Flora acrossing o’er the lea,
Her eyes were beaming brightly, as she coyly greeted me;
“If you’re on your keeping, boy, of our comforts you can share,
You’d be welcome to my father’s home,” ses Flora from Belclare.
Being quite amazed I quietly gazed, my travelling tales I told,
Saying “I am but an outlawed boy, I’ve neither wealth nor gold;
My heart and hand is at your command, my love with you I’d share,
On the bleak hillside, if you were my bride, loved Flora from Belclare.”
As I pressed her tender hand beneath the azure skies,
And glanced into her winsome face the tears bedewed her eyes,
“As you are a rebel boy, just now I will prepare,
And if you’ll be true, I’ll go with you” ses Flora from Belclare.
We then went to the Soggarth’s home where truths I did unfold,
‘Bout blighted years, ‘bout hovering fears and the days when I was bold,
My fondest wish in bonds he sealed with a calm absolving prayer,
And at my right side he blessed my bride, loved Flora from Belclare.
A cottage neat we then secured, down by a placid stream,
Where sunshine lit the paths of peace as blissful as a dream;
And as free from grief as the linnet’s song is free from the throes of care,
No greater heart e’er breathed in life than Flora from Belclare.
Til the wily Tans with wily bans our humble home laid low,
When in a strongly armoured car with them I had to go;
While Flora wept on the bleak roadside enshrouded in despair,
Oh! my memory’s green of that parting scene of Flora from Belclare.
For a time in grief she pined and in sorrow found a place,
Within hallowed churchyard in death’s long cold embrace;
And when I heard the tidings sad in the Curragh of Kildare,
My heart could break for her dear sake, loved Flora from Belclare.
I have travelled far and wide through the intervening years,
But ne’er could find a friend so kind in this lone vale of tears,
By Antrim’s hills and Nephin’s rills I have often knelt in prayer,
For the calm repose of my Irish Rose, loved Flora from Belclare.

Brave-Hearted Peg Malone

Now, when I muse ‘mid Mayo’s braes,
My heart with grief is sore,
As I recall youth’s happy days,
And friends I’ll ne’er see more.
When I think of trusted friends I knew,
Who’re sleeping in cold clay,
I grieve for my loved Róisín Dhu,
Held fast by alien sway.
My nation wept ‘neath galling throes,
Some fifteen years ago,
When gallant heroes proudly rose,
To oust the foreign foe.
They nobly fought for liberty,
In glorious ‘sixteen,
The Irishmen might freemen be,
‘Neath the orange, white and green.
Then, dauntless for my Róisín Dhu,
Beneath the flag of Tone,
There stood an Irish colleen, true,
Brave-hearted Peg Malone.
With trust and faith she saw the light,
Of freedom’s dawning day,
And, with inspiration beaming bright,
In death she passed away.
By God’s decree she calmly sleeps,
Where shamrocks freshly bloom,
In Aughavale, where clans will weep,
Around her silent tomb.
May her soul find rest where love ne’er ends,
In a home beyond the sky,
The memory of true hearted friends,
Will never, never die.

Margaret Malone

The silent tomb enshrouds thy heart, thy spirit, true, hath flown.
The cold, cold clay enwraps thy head, loved, gentle Peg Malone.
In chorus, we acclaim her traits, her talent rich and rare.
An idol of her Celtic sept, fresh, true, polite and fair.
No more we’ll hear her gentle voice, her pure enthralling song.
In mellow tones she’ll chant sweet psalms, the Heavenly hosts among.
Her Irish pulse no more will throb, Oh, who will take her place?
She was a gem of eloquence, of elegance and grace.
When Banba reeked with terror vile, and shrieked with pangs of woe.
When the foemen’s spears were glancing in the vales of fair Mayo.
When sordid gangs were swaying fast to crush poor Rosaleen.
For freedom’s sake she took her place, ‘neath the orange, white and green.
Her memory in our hearts will bloom, like the flowers bloom in spring.
Memories of her love and deeds to the silent grave we’ll bring.
We’ll enshrine her name ‘mongst Ireland’s best, whilst the billows heave and roll,
And unceasingly by we’ll breathe a prayer for her dear spotless soul.

To My Maura In Mayo

Written in the Curragh Camp, 1921.

My dearest Maura, I’m sadly pining,
Where summers beauty is ever drear.
But the star of love is still brightly shining,
Although I’m parted from you my dear.
Oh, I miss the charms and fond embrace,
Of the only colleen that’s dear to me.
But none on earth can take the place of,
My darling Maura, asthore Machree.
Your love so tender, oh, fairest maiden,
I often miss on the Curragh plains.
To your traits so gentle, with meekness laden,
I will be true whilst life remains.
Your true affection I fondly cherish,
Though now, my love, I am miles from thee.
Soon, soon, I’ll see you or sadly perish,
My darling Maura, asthore Machree.
No time or distance will ever change me,
No matter where I may chance to go.
No other fair one will e’er derange me,
My pride you’ll be in lone West Mayo.
Though vile oppressors may thus divide us,
My undying love they can’t take from me.
But for a time they can sadly chide us,
My darling Maura, asthore Machree.
Oh, the dawn of freedom will soon be beaming,
And I’ll return to you asthore.
In the Curragh dungeons I’ll cease my dreaming,
And from my Maura I’ll part no more.
‘Mid Mayo’s mountains I’ll live contented,
My native Érin I’ll be true to thee.
My hand and love I have now presented,
To my darling Maura, asthore Machree.

Reflections (The Rays That Shone)

Old Moore’s Almanac By P. Tunney, Derrykillew, Westport

My tears they fall when I recall,
The story of our land.
When every flame of Irish fame,
Was pillaged, outlawed, banned.
Ere Norman hordes with bloody swords,
Our sacred shrines laid low.
And trampled on the rays that shone,
And lit up fair Mayo.
My heart sighs sore for the days of yore,
When Ireland’s sons were true.
When naught but peace and love and ease,
Ruled Éire through and through.
Ere greed and gain inspired the Dane,
Our rights to overthrow.
And trample on the rays that shone,
And lit up fair Mayo.
Long years ago no Saxon foe,
Our great forefathers knew.
‘Til Cromwell’s band did invade our land,
To conquer and subdue.
Our people rose ‘gainst mighty foes,
Who steered a train of woe.
To trample on the rays that shone,
And lit up fair Mayo.
Through ages long a faithful throng,
Opposed imported laws.
No Saxon Huns or long range guns,
Could quell the Irish cause.
In ninety-eight our people great,
Stood fast against the foe.
Who trampled on the rays that shone,
And lit up fair Mayo.
In recent years brave volunteers,
Were marshalled by MacBride.
Who paved the way, who led the fray,
And showed how martyrs died.
Stained England’s red showed them no dread,
To her might they’d never bow.
Whilst she trampled on the rays that shone,
And lit up fair Mayo.
Oh, where’s the fame, the lore, the name,
That once to Éire clung.
When o’er her hills and by her rills,
Was heard the Gaelic tongue.
Is our ancient sway all gone for aye,
Or conquered by the foe.
Who trampled on the rays that shone,
And lit up fair Mayo.

My Father’s “Cóta Mór”

Old Moore’s Almanac
One moonlight night as the moon shone bright o’er the woodlands on Mayo,
All sounds were stilled as my young heart thrilled with a gleam of freedom’s glow.
To the side of a rill, at the foot of the hill, my daddy brought me o’er,
Saying “Now, my chap, come and fill a gap, and put on my “Cóta Mór.”
“Some trusted men, are to meet in The Glen, with years I’m growing old,
So for Banba’s race you must take your place within the one true fold.
By night and day you must sway in the fray, like Róisín’s clans of yore,
With your hands to the plough come and vow, right now, and put on my “Cóta Mór.”
My head I bared, my young heart flared, my solemn word I gave,
That to alien foes, to Might and throes, I’d never live a slave.
That I’d disown the Saxon throne from the depths of my inmost core,
Then with rapt delight, that moonlight night I put on the “Cóta Mór.”
Oh, the scene by the rill I remember still, when I think of boyhood’s days,
For freedom’s light was then peeping bright o’er Hibernia’s flowery braes.
As a care-free lad, sure my heart throbbed glad singing Paddies Evermore,
‘Til the Saxon Huns with Tans and guns laid siege on the “Cóta Mór.”
Toils and years, and smiles and tears have come and gone since then,
For Treaties and Pacts and traitorous acts have allured ambitious men.
Vile, pompish Kings vain, earthly things and Crowns have toppled o’er.
Still Rosaleen is true to the sheen and the hue of my father’s “Cóta Mór.”
The vow I took, I never broke and please God I never will,
Whilst one vein beats true to Róisín Dhu or to “Rory of the Hill.”
I hope I’ll see loved Banba free, from the Foyle to the winding Nore,
And a million men on parade in the glen, where I donned my father’s “Cóta Mór.”

The Curragh Camp Dream

“Songs and Ballads from the Vales of Mayo”
I dreamt last night I was in Mace
In the midst of revelations,
That Ireland had won her place,
Amongst the world’s nations.
I thought I heard a stern command
Saying “Go! Clear out invader.
We’ve burst your chains in Ireland,
No more will you degrade her,”
All Banba’s sons had rallied forth
Undaunted ‘neath the banner,
The East and West, the South and North,
From the placid Boyne to Anner,
From the distant hills of Donegal,
The peaks of Connemara,
From the heathery slopes of wild Imaal
To the shores of fair Kinvara.
From the fertile plains of Royal Meath
With Tara in its glory,
To the rugged heights of Oulart’s heath
And the blood-stained fields of Gorey,
From every corner of Mayo
Undaunted braves were thronging
Saying “We helped to oust the foe,
For Freedom’s rays we’re longing”
There the gallant men of Ballinalee
Knocklong and Ballybrian
To chant a hymn of liberty
With Connacht’s clans were vying.
I thought the boys of famed Tralee
Macroom and Tipperary
Sang “Thomond is from thraldom free
By the sons of Ballingeary.”
I thought the boys of Garryowen
Were led by Denis Lacey
To unveil the epitaph of Tone,
MacBride and brave Seán Treacy.
I saw great warriors from Belfast,
From Larne, Down and Derry
A-rallying as the trumpet’s blast
All ancient feuds to bury.
The crowd was swelling all the while
Loved Banba ceased all pining
As the shadows of her silvery steel
‘Gainst an azure sky was shining.
A Republic was proclaimed anew,
From Gaelic they were speaking,
In silence all knelt on the dew
To convert the slave and weakling,
Redeemed, and free from foreign yoke
I blest the land that bore me
But from my slumber I awoke
As a Tommy shouted o’er me…