Were you e’er in Altamuskin at the cuttin’ o’ the peat,
When the summer sun is shinin’, an’ the mountain air is sweet?
When the farmers come from Foremass, Aghnagar, an’ Bellakeel,
With the turf-spades that they carry, an’ the barrows that they wheel.
In the city here what memories come surgin’ through my brain!
In fancy I am walking up the mountains road again.
To cheer the toilers at their work, the skylark sings his best,
The moorhen cackles loudly when molested on her nest.
‘Tis mid-day now; we gladly stretch our weary limbs awhile,
An’ have a good old dinner in the good old gipsy style;
O, the air of Altamuskin is an appetizer good –
An’ heavy works the medicine can make us relish food.
An’ now the neighbours gather round, the youthful an’ the old;
A happy hour is whiled away, the drollest tales are told.
There are maidens sly, and maidens shy, and pretty girls among
Blithe lads who know the way to keep the girls from thinkin’ long.
In the centre o’ the city here ‘tis oft an’ oft I sigh
For the cackle o’ the moorhen, an’ the curlews piercing cry,
The singin’ o’ the mountain lark, the air so pure an’ sweet –
In old Altamuskin, at the cuttin’ o’ the peat.
Michael Mullin ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone.