Under Irish Skies
 A Journey Through the Places of Origin

By Edmundo Murray

The Kilrane Boys
by Walter McCormack*

On the thirteen day of April in the year of Forty-four
With the bloom of Spring the birds did sing around green Erin's shore
The feathered train in concert their tuneful notes did strain,
To resound with acclamations that echoed through Kilrane.

Twelve matchless youths I see approach, most splendid they appear.
They leave farewell with all their friends, their neighbours and parents dear.
As usual to their bosoms flew some mirth for to display;
They cried "Adieu, God be with you; we're bound for Amerikay."

My darling boys, what is the cause or the reason you must go,
To leave your native country for a shore you do not know,
Where you'll profess the holy Faith from which you ne'er did stray;
Ah, what dull news have you induced to wild Amerikay?

Foul British laws are the whole cause of our going far away;
From the fruits of our hard labour they defraud us here each day.
To see our friends in slavery tied with taxes for to pay.
Ere we'll be bound to such bloodhounds we'll plough the raging sea.

There's Billy Whitty and his bride, their names I will first sound,
John Connors and John Murphy from Ballygeary town.
Mick Kavanagh and Tom Saunders, two youths that none can blame,
James Pender, Patrick Howlin and four from Ballygillane.

Larry Murphy from Kilrane joined them in unity:
They're bound for Buenos Aires, the land of liberty.

On Wexford's Quay the thirteenth day were many go bid farewell;
They stayed conversing with their friends till sound of the last bell.
Then they gave three cheers for Ireland that echoed with hurray,
And with one for Dan O'Connell they boldly sailed away.

Oh, now they're on the ocean, may the angels be their guide
And send them safe through angry wave, o'er rock and welling tide;
That we may live to meet again in health and wealth and store.
God send them safely to their friends the blooming Kilrane corps.  

* Ranson, Joseph (ed.), Songs of the Wexford Coast (Wexford: John English & Co., 1975, first ed. 1948.), p. 74

The editor mentions that he 'got this song from Nick Corish, St. John's Road, Wexford, Feb., 1943. Nick got the song from Paddy O'Brien, ex-N.T. [National Teacher], Rosslare. The author was Walter McCormack of the Bing, Kilrane. A centenary celebration was held in Kilrane on April 11th, 1944, to honour the memory of the emigrants, when the cart, which brought some of the emigrants into Wexford, was drawn in the procession' (p. 75). Mgr. Joseph Ranson was ordained in 1930 in Salamanca, and was parish priest of  St. Aidan. In 1949, the Irish Archbishop appointed him to the Directorship of the Irish College in Salamanca. In 1955, he was Administrator of the Enniscorthy Cathedral. Ranson, a distinguished historian and literary critic, died on 27 November 1964 (Coghlan 1987: 151).

County Wexford

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The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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