It carpets our mountains where ceannabhans grow,
It blooms in our valleys where bright rivers flow;
Where whistles the blackbird, where warbles the thrush,
‘Tis thriving – the prickly old Irish whin bush.
I loved it in youth; if I live to grow old
I’ll still love the whin and its blossoms of gold:
O tender and sweet are the mem’ries that rush
From my childhood’s shelter – an Irish whin bush.
As over life’s billows I steer my lone bark,
I dream of the days when, as blithe as a lark,
I raced with the rabbits, or mimicked the thrush
That sang as it perch’d on an Irish whin bush.
It sheltered the priest, ‘twas the patriot’s shield,
The outlawed hedge-master it often concealed;
The faith, lore, and freedom which tyrants would crush
Had still a stout friend in the Irish whin bush.
No wonder our exiles in lands far away
Oft dream of the gold on a whin-covered brae;
To come back to Erin their lonely heart’s wish,
And hear Irish winds in an Irish whin bush.
‘THE BARD OF FOREMASS’
FOREMASS LOWER, SIXMILECROSS, CO. TYRONE