Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sean South of Garryowen

 Sean South of Garryowen
By Seams O Dufaigh

Sad are the homes round Garryowen
Since long lost their joy and pride
And the banshee cry links every vale
Around the Shannon side
That city of the ancient walls
The broken treaty stone,
Undying fame surrounds your name,
 Sean South from Garryowen

T'was on a dreary New Years Eve
As the shades of night came down
A lorry load of volunteers approached the border town
There were men from Dublin and from Cork, Fermanagh and Tyrone
And the leader was a Limerick man
 Sean South from Garryowen

As they moved along the street
Up to the barracks door
They scorned the danger they might meet
The fate that lay instore
They were fighting for old Ireland's cause
To claim their very own
And the foremost of that gallant band
Was South from Garryowen

But the sergeant foiled their daring plan
He spied them trough the door
From Sten guns and from rifles
A hail of death did pour
And when that awful night had passed
Two men lay cold as stone
There was one from near the border town.
And one from Garryowen

No more will he hear the seagull's cry
Over the murmurring Shannon tide
For he fell beneath a Northern sky
Brave Hanlon by his side
They have gone to join that gallant band
Of Plunkett, Pearse and Tone
A martyr for old Ireland
Sean South from Garryowen

May God reward those gallant men,
May heaven be their home
In Brookburogh Town, where they were shot down
In a cabin they lay cold
They never feared the R.U.C.,
Or the B men on patrol
O'Hanlon from the border
And South from Garryowen

(There are several inaccuracies in the song, which was written shortly after the event. 1) He was not from Garyowen, though its a good poetic term and 2) he was not the leader of the column, the then-unknown Sean Garland was. Details aside it well captured the spirit that roused the nation behind the new martyrs.)
 (Photo: Last cartoon penned by Sean South shortly before his death. Apologies for blur, and GRMA to GB for sharing)

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