In the years before the Famine,
Greedy Lord Lorton, God damn the nyeuck*
For the love of money and hatred of man
Cleared the town of Ballinamuck…
Levelled, all bar six houses and church left standing
The latter only after a fight,
To the cold, the young and old,
Had but the sky for shelter for the night.
From the town of Boyle with the Police
For safe escort the wreckers came
Sleveens and other scum
Who knew neither God nor shame,
The rights of Landlords protected in Ireland
Refuting Westmeaths and Loritins** charge
The wrongs against the laws of God committed
Their sins both grave and large.
For God sees all, and Providence
Cannot be used as a defense
Those who twist the words of Christ
Know not God or any sense.
In the pursuit of Mammon
As they cast poor folk upon the road
These folk of fortune ill gotton
Further seeds of hatred sowed.
Hatred it has a harvest,
As was being reaped upon that time,
A harvest that is bitter,
Leads but to another crime,
Namesless now the victims.
To most folk, but they have names here,
For God, and all decent folk,
Hold the names of the innocent dear.
The Widow Nerheny died of a broken heart,
It was the world, her little home, now gone,
She was but one of the common folk,
She was of those folk but one.
Her orphans to the charity of the world given,
And should such not be found,
Its the cruel rules of the world,
They would join her in the ground.
Folk feared for their lots and trembled,
No hope for themselves they saw,
Theres no justice for Irishmen in Ireland,
At least not under Britains law.
So men took on themselves revenge to administer
Each in his own way,
Horrible harvests of hatred pure
Were reaped in the wake of this wretched day.
With Courtenay, the soldiers came,
The locals they offered a pound,
To cover the scandal that had ensued,
If they’d lever their own homes to the ground.
Some, knowing resistance was futile,
Did as they were bid to do,
Took the shillings as offered,
Their actions for their lives they would rue.
Other men, such as Patrick Hogan,
Who to hold his home was set,
For on it hed speant all that he had,
And built it with his own sweat,
But with an allmighty crash it came tumbling down,
Satisfied, the wreckers moved their sights
There was no God in Ballinamuck
On those dark autumn nights.
These cruel men of no hearts, moved on
A mother of six, a Widow, named Donnelly was next
Six young, some crippled, more diseased, one she swore
As is understandable, though a child she was, she was vexed.
From a pig shed they were evicted next,
And thrown under the open sky
“The heavens wept for them” a constable said,
Flurrying snowflakes about did fly.
The men, stiff lipped, proud, silent stood
They shed not a tear, no emotion showed,
Not British stiff upper lip, but Irish,
Men staunch, bitter, unbowed.
To the exterminators they would give no triumph
As fond memories to themselves keep,
Though as I write I wonder how the wreckers,
With themselves at night could in peace sleep.
The chapel escaped, thanks to folks strong resistance,
Who with their lives, before it in protection stood.
In token possessions a piece of plaster from its walls,
And a bough from a tree take they could.
A church proud today on its site stands,
A testament to peoples resolve at that time,
That they could not level a house of God
When they done to the least of His folk so great a crime.
* Nyeuck – local dialect meaning a good for nothing. Hibero-English and Ulster Scots
** Westmeath and Loritin – two landed families who claimed Melbournes – the prime ministers – government did not protect landlords property rights in Ireland