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Three Men Dead

In this archway the three Republican prisoners were executed by Free State forces at Birr Castle
In this archway the three Republican prisoners were executed by Free State forces at Birr Castle

On listening to a talk about three men killed by firing squad in Birr castle in 1922 during the Irish Civil War. They were killed for breaking and entering, not as a combatant element.

No poems written, no ballads sung
Yet feted as hero’s, from life’s bottom rung
Shot as criminals, three men so young
Their names largely today forgot

In Birr Castle shot dead
As a warning, so others instead
On the homes of the wealthier dare not tread
And against others daren’t plot.

Bought back as hero’s laid in grave
Names in honour as died their land to slave
Shown to be actions of a knave
Who after their names denied

From the role their names in time were taken
Their valor once praised – all now forsaken
As to their criminal deeds now others awaken
As still their mothers cried.

A fourth spared the fate of death
Who for being guilty the same should have been set
Being of stock of not a kinder fate met
And lived to tell the tale.

To be derided at the door
Of the families of comrades dead before
That he should to be dead, was heard the roar
Over a heartbroken mothers wail.

Another tragic tale of a tragic fight
Where both were wrong and both were right
Where to live was the only thing in these men’s sight
It was not a crime of greed.

And the war in which they were killed
To be a lesson for others, by an army willed
Who of freedom to be slaves so much blood was spilled
A freedom that answered no mans basic need.

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