• Michael Mullins
  • Michael "The Bard" Mullin
  • "The Bard of Foremass"
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    Poems
    The Old Altar in Altamuskin

    The hills above are high, the glen is deep;
    A singing brooklet lulls the glen to sleep –
    A holy glen: for Mass was offered there
    When churches, but not worshippers, were rare.

    Churches and schools were luxuries allowed
    But seldom to our sires by tyrants proud;
    No wonder then, our fathers deemed it good
    To raise an altar in this solitude.

    ‘Twas a cold place for Mass in this cold clime,
    And yet a meet place in the penal time;
    The lone hills sheltered it from storms un-kind –
    And from worse tyrants than the winter wind.

    A quaint old chapel this! A muddy floor;
    And heaven the only roof that arched it o’er;
    Its walls – green slopes that leaned against the land:
    A house of God raised up by God’s own Hand.

    Gaze we in fancy on a scene sublime –
    A Sabbath morning in the winter time;
    Poor toil-worn peasant from the hills around,
    Kneeling on “knee-stones” on the snowclad ground.

    They have no heating apparatus there;
    Nor warm nor costly are the clothes they wear;
    Naught save the fire of Faith is there to warm
    Hearts raised to God, oblivious of the storm.

    Passed has that scene as earthly scenes all pass –
    No throng is there to-day, no priest, no Mass;
    But the calm hills still guard the holy nook,
    And still unwearied goes the singing brook.

    (Footnote by P.D. – We all know the hymn ‘Ive found a Treasure in a Field’, it brings to mind finding a treasure – a pot of Gold in a big field in a valley like the fertile land of Clogher Valley or a verdant plain in Meath (good land). But our ancestors found a treasure ‘The Eucharist – the Mass’ in the corner of a wild secluded glen in Altamuskin {Glennaffrin} and later they came to worship in the old Altar Glen for generations before the Chapel of Dunmoyle was built in the 1860’s. – Granda wrote a poem – GLENNANAFFRIN {The Old Altar at Altamuskin, Dunmoyle}.) – see file ‘Extra poems that P.D. has. Matha Jack (Mullin – granda’s uncle) was the last survivor who had worshiped at the old Altar at Altamuskin regularly.