This website has been developed to celebrate the memory and to share a collection of the poetic verses of the Tyrone poet Michael Mullin, also known as Michael “The Bard” Mullin. He was known locally as ‘The Bard of Foremass’. Born and raised in the townland of Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, County Tyrone, Michael’s love of nature, the land and its people and his deep faith is reflected in all his poetry.
When his grandson Patrick Mullin died and being of a computerised mind he bequeathed that this website be set up to publish his grandfather’s poems. It has taken some time and many false starts but we the family have now organised a small amount of his poems here.
We hope you get the same enjoyment from his poetic verses as we do.
Michael Mullin was born on the 29th of January 1886 to parents Terence and Margaret Mullin née Conroy. He was reared on their small farm in the townland of Foremass Lower. As he grew up and lived in his beloved Foremass he always saw God’s handiwork in the natural beauty of the countryside and from this he drew inspiration for a lot of his writing.
He lived through turbulent times at the beginning of the twentieth century and in his early years he read and contributed to papers including The Nation, The Weekly Freeman, The Packet and other magazines of a nationalist and republican point of view. He also wrote for the Ulster Herald and there was a long running poetic debate in the Poets Corner in the Herald about whether young ladies should wear cloaks or shawls and it was at this time that he was first called The Bard of Foremass by fellow poet Michael Conroy from Barnesone. He contributed to the Ulster Herald from his late teens to well into his old age.
His poems were also published in The Cork Examiner, The Independent and religious magazines, The Far East and African Missions
He married Mary Jane Mullin of nearby Foremass Upper townland in 1919 and reared their family in Foremass. His poetry generated much needed supplemental income for his young family. As a prolific poet Michael Mullin wrote on a wide range of subjects but his favourite themes were Nature, God, Love, Family and Farming. His catalogue of poetry stretches to hundreds of published poems with further work that remains unpublished.
He died on St. Brigid’s Eve in 1978 two days after his 92nd birthday.
He is buried just inside the gates and opposite the front door of
St.Mary’s Chapel, Dunmoyle, in the parish of Errigal Ciaran, Co. Tyrone.
The noble men who died
May God reward the noble men who died
Endeavouring to liberate our land
Brave men who bled on plain and mountain-side,
And made a bold, if unsuccessful, stand.
What – unsuccessful? some would term it thus –
Yet theirs was vict’ry in the proper sense:
For patriots ever are victorious;
And glorious is the patriot’s recompense.
They fought and conquered the temptations strong,
That tried to lure them from their duty’s path;
O’er thorns and rugged rocks they toiled along,
And gained the crown held out to them by Death.
The gilded toys that tempt the weak of mind,
The life of ease and wealth, fond hopes and high,
Hearths, homes, and loves – they left them all behind,
For us and for their motherland to die.
Gold could not bribe them from the Cause they loved,
Death’s shadow could not frighten them away;
Freedom they loved, and by their death they proved
That they were ready Freedom’s price to pay.
Then let us honour them with honour due,
To follow in their sacred footsteps strive;
And manfully do all that men can do
To keep the Cause, for which they died, alive.
MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass,
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.