There is an Ulster saying “Dont dig too deep” into family backgrounds, as you would never know what you might find, and its true in the case of our family, who seem to be descended from a notorious former Lord Mayor of Dublin who defeated The O’Toole in Wicklow (about whom this poem is written) through savage means. From there, they settled in Meath, were on the wrong side of the Wars of the Roses, lost at The Boyne, ditto 1798… what a history. According to family lore after 1690 they settled in Oldcastle in Meath, and from there to Ballinulty from which my great grandmother was descended. Dont dig too deep indeed!
The O’Meagher by the Dodders banks were settled
By the O Byrnes as payment in kind
For battles faught and to be faught
For their lands from the English to mind.
In rampant rage, Walshes under General John Drake
Dublin Mayor led Crown forces out
Bloody was the battle – one sided
Ended in an merciless rout.
In Dublin, by the church of the Friar Preachers
In prayerful procession for victory walked
Death in her guise as the Morrighan crow
Unseen, all seeing, the Wicklow skies it stalked.
Fire hundred men without mercy slain
Of O Byrne, O Meagher an O Toole
One massacre in history among many
Of the jackboot of English rule.
Twenty thousand acres were the thirty pieces of silver
Given of the frontierslands of Royal Meath
So the Drakes came to Drakesrath
In thanks for their loyal and savage deed.