• Michael Mullins
  • Michael "The Bard" Mullin
  • "The Bard of Foremass"
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    The shadows of night growing thicker
    Dissolved the last tints of the day;
    I gazed in the peat fire, whose flicker
    Declined in a weird sickly way.

    I gazed on the cinders, a-thinking;
    Tranquillity reigned in the room:
    Up rose from the embers low sinking
    Strange visions of war, gore and gloom.

    I saw in the flames slowly dying,
    A glimpse of the brave ones who strove
    And fought, the green flag o’er them flying,
    For us; and for Erin, their love.

    A moment  rose Clontarf before me:
    Our sires, as they mowed down the Dane
    In swathes, with their hand aching sorely,
    For rest paused again and again.

    I saw Gaels ‘gainst Sassanaghs dashing
    At Yellow Ford – our Bannockburn;
    Red Hugh, kern and gallowglass smashing,
    Till tyranny’s torn legions turn.

    Like avalanche next they came sweeping
    Benburb with the great Eoghan Roe;
    Like mowers of corn were they reaping
    The mighty array of Munroe.

    Then rose up a picture heart rending –
    Yet making the soul with pride glow;
    The maidens of Lim’rick defending
    The breach ‘gainst the terrible foe.

    The Wild Geese who shoulder to shoulder,
    With Sarsfield fought ere they had flown;
    The band  – Erin ne’er had a bolder –
    Who kept the old Bridge of Athlone.

    I saw; I saw those who for Ireland
    Joined Emmet and Tone in the strife;
    And all who faced death for our sireland,
    For altar, for children and wife.

    I saw in the fire sinking lowly,
    Those Gaels fighting for us and Faith
    ‘Gainst tyrants and heathens unholy –
    Those fathers who dared for us death.

    And then I resolved most sincerely
    A worthy descendant to be
    If those who loved Erin so dearly,
    And sacrificed so much for me.

    Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.

    The mountains of old Ireland bold sentinels they stand
    Gigantic guardian watching o’er the welfare of the land
    Their feet dug deep into the earth their heads are in the sky.
    These strongholds to which Freedom fled when despots bade her die
    Our sad eyed sons and daughters as their ships speed o’er the foam
    Gaze back across the waters to the mountain tops of home
    These mountain heathery bonnets wave a sweet and sad adieu
    To every lonely wanderer as Erin sinks from view
    The exiled Gaels of Ireland in their wandrings o’er the world
    Oft dream of Irish cannabhans and heather flags unfurled
    And if they ere return again their gladdest glimpse shall be
    The mountain tops of Ireland arising up above the sea
    The mountains of old Ireland are monuments sublime
    That hold the records of a sad and of a glorious time
    Alters of faith and freedom by saints and sages trod
    And blest by blood of martyrs for Ireland and for God.

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

    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.