KELLY, THE BOY FROM KILLANE
Words & Music: P.J. MacCall

BALLAD REGARDING THE WEXFORD RISING OF 1798; IN FACT THE SONG TELLS THE STORY IN A CONCISE SUMMARY OF THE ACTION IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF COUNTY (NOTE THE STUNNING METAPHORS IN THE LAST VERSE)

What’s the news? What’s the news?
Me bold Shelmalier,
With your long-barrelled gun of the sea.
Say what wind from the north blows his messenger here
With hymn of the dawn for the free.
Goodly news, goodly news do I bring youth of Fourth,
Goodly news do you hear Bargy man.
For the boys march at mom from the south to the north,
led by Kelly the boy from Killanne

Tell me who is the giant with the gold curling hair,
He who stands at the head of your band.
Seven feet is his height with some inches to spare
And he looks like a king in command.
O me boys that’s the pride of the bold Shemalier,
Amongst our greatest of heroes a man
Fling your beavers aloft and give three ringing sheers,
For John Kelly the boy from Killanne.

Enniscorthy’s in flames and old Wexford is one
And the barrow to-morrow we’ll cross.
On the hill o’er the town we have planted a gun
That will batter the gateways of Ross.
All the Forth men Bargy men march o’er the heath
With brave harvey to lead on the van,
But the foremost of all in the grim gap of death
Will be Kelly the boy from Killanne.

But the gold sun of freedom grew darkened at Ross
And it set by the Slaney’s red waves.
And poor Wexford stript naked hung high on a cross,
Her heart pieced by traitors and slaves.
Glory O! Glory O! to her brave sons who died
Glory O! to downtrodden men
Glory O! to mount Leinster’s own darling and pride
Dauntless Kelly the boy from Killanne