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Ballads and Poems 1798
The 1798 rebellion has inspired many of our most popular ballads and songs.
Many of the best known ballads about the events of 1798 were not written until the
second half of the 19th century.
Among the most famous of these are "At Boolavogue" and "Kelly from Killanne"
composed by P.J. McCall.
"At Boolavogue"
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At Boolavogue as the sun was setting
O’er the bright May meadows of
A rebel hand set the heather blazing
And brought the neighbours from far
and near.
We took Camolin and Enniscorthy,
And Wexford storming drove out our foes;
‘Twas at Sliabh Coillte our pikes were
reeking with crimson stream of the beaten
Then Father Murphy, from old Kilcormack,
Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry,
"Arm, Arm!" he cried, "for I’ve come to lead you,
For Ireland’s freedom we’ll fight or die."
At Tubberneering and Ballyellis
Full many a Hessian lay in his gore,
Ah, Father Murphy, had aid come over
The green flag floated from shore to shore!
He led us on ’gainst the coming soldiers,
And the cowardly Yeomen we put to flight;
’Twas at the Harrow the boys of Wexford
Showed Bookey’s regiment how men could fight.
At Vinegar Hill, o’er the pleasant Slaney,
Our heroes vainly stood back to back,
And the Yeos at Tullow took Father Murphy
And burned his body upon the rack.
Look out for hirelings, King George of England,
Search every kingdom where breathes a slave.
For Father Murphy from the County Wexford
Sweeps o’er the land like a mighty wave
God grant you glory, brave Father Murphy,
And open heaven to all your men;
The cause that called you may call to-morrow
In another fight for the Green again.

Bás an Chroipí

Sinte ar thaobh an tsleibhe,
Chonaic me Croipi bocht.
Bhi an drucht go trom ar a eadan,
Bhi pilear trina ucht.

Bhi se I bhfad ona chairde,
I bhfad ona theach ‘s a mhnaoi,
Agus e ina aonar fagtha
Ar an bhfear fuar, fliuch, ’na lui.

‘Sa bhothainin sleibhe
Bhi bean ag gol ‘s ag caoi,
Ag caoineadh ar son a ceile
Nach dtiocfadh ar ais a choiach.

"A mhathair, na bi ag caoineadh,
Na bi ag briseadh do chroi,
Ni fada go bhfillfidh Daidi.
Suigh sios agus lig do scith.
"Ni fheadaim, a mhic ni fheadaim.
Ta cnapan mor I m’ucht.
B’fheidir gur paiste gan athair
Tu fein, a mhic, anocht".

"A mhathair, ta Dia cinealta.
Ni ligfidh se dochar do.
Na habair, na habhair, a mhathair
Na habair nach bhfuil se beo".

Ach d’fhan se san ait ‘nar thit se
agus pilear trina ucht.
Nach silfidh Eire aon deoirin
Ar son an saighdiur’ bhoicht?

Requiem for the Croppies

The pockets of our greatcoats full of barley -
No kitchens on the run, no striking camp -
We moved quick and sudden in our own country
The priest lay behind ditches with the tramp.
A people, hardly marching - on the hike -
We found new tactics happening each day:
We’d cut through reins and rider with the pike
And stampede cattle into infantry,
Then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown.
Until, on Vinegar Hill, the fatal conclave.
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August the barley grew up out of the grave.
Seamus Heaney, New Selected Poems 1966 - 1987.
U.K.: Faber & Faber, 1990

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