Sunday, 28 November 2010

Forget not the Boys of Kilmichael

General Tom Barry's account of the Ambush at Kilmichael includes the following reference:

"...At 3 a.m. the men were told for the first time they were moving in to attack the Auxiliaries between Macroom and Dunmanway. Father O'Connell, P.P., Ballineen, had ridden out to hear the men's Confessions, and was waiting by the side of a ditch, some distance from the road. Silently, one by one, their rifles slung, the IRA went to him, and then returned to the ranks. Soon the priest came on the road. In a low voice, he spoke, 'Are the boys going to attach the Sassanach, Tom?' 'Yes, Father, we hope so.' He asked no further question, but said in a loud voice, 'Good luck, boys, I know you will win. God keep ye all. Now I will give you my Blessing.' He rode away into the darkness of the night..."

Patrick Canon O'Connell, was born on 4th March, 1864, at Knockane, Dunmanway, and was ordained a Priest at Maynooth on 24th June, 1890. He had been appointed Parish Priest of Enniskeane in June, 1918 and was created a Canon on 4th July, 1934. He died on 31st January, 1946. When he rode out to minister to the Volunteers that night in November, 1920, he risked not only his life but possibly the disapproval of his Bishop, Dr. Coholan, who, a fortnight later, excommunicated all - Volunteers and British Forces alike - participating in ambush, kidnap and murder. Canon O'Connell was to risk his life once again when he met the Volunteers in the dead of night at Castletown Kenneigh Graveyard to bury their dead.

As we remember 'in song and in story' the Boys of Kilmichael, let us also remember Canon O'Connell.







The Ballad of Kilmichael

Oh forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
Those brave boys both gallant and true.
They fought with Tom Barry's bold column,
And conquered the red, white and blue.

Whilst we honour in song and in story,
The memory of Pearse and McBride.
Whose names are illumined in glory,
With martyrs that long since have died.
Oh forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
Who feared not the ice and the foe.
Oh the day that they marched into battle,
They laid all the Black and Tans low.

On the twenty-eighth day of November,
The Tans left the town of Macroom.
They were seated in Crossley tenders,
Which brought them right into their doom.
They were on the high road to Kilmichael,
And never expecting to stall.
'Twas there that the boys of the column,
They made a clear sweep of them all.

The sun in the west it was sinking,
'Twas the eve of a cold winter's day.
When the Tans we were eagerly waiting,
Sailed into the spot where we lay.
And over the hill went the echo,
The peal of the rifles and guns.
And the smoke from their lorries bore tidings,
That the boys of Kilmichael had won.

The battle being over at twilight,
And there in that glen so obscure.
We threw down our rifles and bayonets,
And made our way back to Granure.
And high over Dunmanway town, my boys,
They sang of the brave and the true.
Of the men from Tom Barry's bold column,
Who conquered the red, white and blue.

There are some who will blush at the mention,
Of Connolly, Pearse and McBride.
And history's new scribes in derision,
The pages of valour deny.
But sure here's to the boys who cried, Freedom!
When Ireland was nailed to the mast.
And they fought with Tom Barry's bold column,
To give us our freedom at last.

So forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
Those brave boys both gallant and true.
They fought 'neath the green flag of Erin,
And conquered the red, white and blue.

10 comments:

Church mass times said...

Awesome post here.it is very nice and interesting.Will you post in future regarding Church Mass Times?

Quis ut Deus said...

Good post. Important to remember the struggles of the men of Kilmichael against foreign aggressors.

Shandon Belle said...

Glad you liked it. As you say it is important to remember "in song and in story" even if we look at these things with less bias today. I think the historical judgement on Kilmichael may become more mixed and less hagiagraphical but it still remains a validly significant event in our history - and our Catholic heritage.

Anonymous said...

a most heroic priest. i will pray for him. thank you for this lovely site.

Shandon Belle said...

Thanks guys! Happy Christmas!

Virgo Potens said...

I'm not sure that the actions of these men deserved to be blessed by the Church but we are all children of God and we all need prayers.

Rathlin Child said...

Good stuff Maeve! Really liked the YouTube vids. Really good to remember the men who won our freedom.

Donnelly's Hollow said...

Isn't it a bit strange to praise men of voilence?

Ransome said...

This is a deeply moving account of the spirituality of rebellion. Those Catholics involved in the American Revolution must have felt the same way.

Little Al said...

This is another example of how far Ireland has come and fallen in recent times.