• Michael Mullins
  • Michael "The Bard" Mullin
  • "The Bard of Foremass"
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    Come draw your stools around the fire,
    And set yourselves at ease –
    For the frost is tight outside tonight,
    And bitter is the breeze;
    And I will sing you a simple song,
    A homely fireside one
    Of a spot I love all spots above –
    Of Foremass in Tyrone.

    Now Foremass is not very wild,
    Nor very grand and fair;
    Gay tourists seldom visit it –
    But it little seems to care.
    It is a high  unsheltered hill
    That runs from east to west,
    And the north winds chill, that strike that hill
    In winter are a pest.

    But Foremass has its sunny side,
    Like many another theme
    It has men as bold as the men of old;
    Love is no idle dream.
    Hospitality and friendship free
    Preside on each hearthstone.
    And beggars find a “failte” kind
    In Foremass in Tyrone.

    In Foremass now by many a hearth
    Is many a vacant chair –
    For emigration’s footsteps made
    A deep impression there.
    There fathers mourn, and mothers yearn,
    For many an absent one,
    Who wandered east and wandered west
    From Foremass in Tyrone.

    Young boys and girls, far o’er the wave,
    In many a land and clime,
    Sigh for that home across the foam
    Where passed youth’s happy time.
    Though day by day, ‘mong strangers gay,
    They live all sad and lone,
    In visions bright they live at night
    In Foremass in Tyrone.

    There’s many a brave and generous heart
    Yet beats on Foremass hill,
    And there are brains to think, and hands
    To toil for Erin still;
    There are men as bold as the men of old,
    Who will light, when Freedom’s won,
    A beacon bright on the highest height
    Of Foremass in Tyrone.

    MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass’,
    Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.


    The Bard of Foremass praises his native heath

    More than 60 years ago Mr. Michael Mullin “The Bard of Foremass” penned the following lines in praise of his native district.  They were first published in January, 1911.

    Green fields! Far off, I hear you calling calling;
    The night is falling in this busy mart;
    Despite this ceaseless din, despite the distance,
    You with persistence whisper to my heart.

    Green fields! I see you through the smoke and shadows;
    I see cool meadows where the lambkins play
    I hear the faint music of a river
    That sings for ever, where I used to stray.

    Green fields! I see you; and in dreams I listen –
    Where damp webs glisten on the golden gorse –
    I listen to the hill-winds harping sweetly,
    Pursuing fleetly their unfettered course.

    Green fields! I see you with your bright May flowers,
    Your sun and showers and your gems of dew;
    Where benweeds genuflect to fairy fingers
    Where the bee lingers, as I used to do

    Green fields! I see you ‘mid your trees and bushes;
    I hear your thrushes and your linnets sing;
    I listen to your larks, like angels singing,
    While heavenward winging with their odes of Spring.

    Green fields! far off, I hear you calling to me –
    A thrill runs through me in this lonesome mart,
    Receive the blessing of an exile lonely
    Green fields! the only green spot in my heart

    Michael Mullin,’The Bard of Foremass’
    Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross. Co. Tyrone.

    Newspaper cutting


    A prize of Half a Guinea is offered for the best contribution to this column every week.  Poems submitted must be original and should be written on one side of the paper only.  Every poem submitted must have author’s name and address at end.  COPIES ONLY of poems should be sent, as return of poems cannot e guaranteed.

    The prize for Irish Verse is awarded to Michael Mullin
    for “Green Fields”

    These exiles, Eire! heard your call, and come to visit you
    In hundreds and in thousands. Give them a welcome true.

    O Mountains! you will see them first you stand aloft so high;
    And they from far away will see your summits in the sky.

    In all your grandeur greet them, and give them welcome fair;
    Take off your vapour bonnets and fling them high in air;

    And as their ships draw nearer in, to fill their hearts with hopes
    Write Cead Mile Failte across your heather slopes.

    Soft Irish Winds! caress them, their heated brows to fan,
    And stamp them, Sun of Ireland! With a real Gaelic tan.

    Where lakes like silver brooches shine on Eire’s lovely breast,
    By stately groves and singing streams, O let them rove and rest.

    O’er mountains beautiful and grand their footsteps gently guide;
    And show them that our olden land holds much in which to pride.

    Give to these Gaels who’ve heard your call and sped across the foam,
    Give, Eire! Eire! – give them all a hearty welcome home.