Friend of my youth! O, say do you remember
The day we went to see Knockmanny hill?
While Ulster, bathed in sunbeams of September,
Stretched all around us, beautiful and still.
We saw Belleek, the distant hills of Connacht,
The hills of Derry, and the peaks of Down;
We saw that day from old Knockmanny’s bonnet,
On Ulster’s face no shadow of a frown.
Smiled Clogher Valley in its autumn glory;
And quiet Augher nestled at our feet;
Anear where Clogher famed in ancient story,
And Ballygawley basking in the heat;
The boglands purple with the blooming heather,
The lea-lands verdant with delicious grass,
The cornfields golden in the autumn weather,
The rivers glittering in the sun like glass!
Knockmanny’s woodlands – were they not romantic?
What joy, to whispers of the wind to list!
The sun, descending to the far Atlantic,
The heavens beautified with amethyst.
Friend of my youth! the ocean waves divide us:
You’re far from me and from Knockmanny hill,
But Fancy to the past will often guide us,
And let us live o’er days of boyhood still.
Michael Mullin ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone.
(P.D. says this poem was written with granda’s brother John in mind. John went to London. He and his brother Patrick (P.D.) came back to live in Howth for a while but then returned to London. He died in London and is buried there. He had a daughter (Moira) and a son Kevin who typed many of grandas poems. Kevin died and is buried in Sidmouth, Devon. Moira married a Canadian and lived in Caneda)