Songs & Poems Archive

Roddy the Rover – Poem about Newmarket

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

A poem about Newmarket by Aodh de Blácam who wrote under the pseudonym Roddy the Rover:


Newmarket’s the name of a number of places,

Even one that is famous for fashions and races,

But get in your car and career ‘till you park it

In sweet County Cork in the noblest Newmarket.


Great Councilor Curran once lived in this city,

Where the bread made him fat and the brew made him witty

And the Monks of the Screw, though they tried to keep dark it,

Could unscrew the inscrutable town of Newmarket.


Its satellite suburbs are Millstreet and Mallow,

It even looks down on Kanturk on the Allow.

Bards boast it, birds sing it, cows moo it, dogs bark it,

Hip – hurrah, tweet tweet, moo moo and bow wow Newmarket.


Am I Still Remembered There?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Thank you to Timmy Cashin, who kindly let us reproduce this poem by his uncle, John D. Cashin. The poem is taken from a booklet of poems called ‘Fancies’. The poet emigrated to the united states at the turn of the last century. The poem below where he recalls his youth in Newmarket is particularly poignant.


Am I Still Remembered There?

‘Tis a bright September morning and Dame Nature looks serene,

The dew is on the hillsides and in pasture fields of green,

The gay meadow lark has risen and his sweetness fills the air,

Can I hope my memory lingers; am I still remembered there?


When the boys and girls together in the meadows tossed the hay,

Where the linnets and the thrushes tuned in chorus all the day,

And when working hours were over, how the youngsters used repair

To the “Cross Road” fun and capers; am I still remembered there?


With the boys of native village, does my memory linger still,

With the “Colleens” on a Sunday, at the “meet” beside the mill,

With the “Emmet Curran” football, at the “sports” or “country fair,”

Is this exile now forgotten; am I still remembered there?


Where old Sol’s bright beams are sinking in the crimson of the west,

And a calm and peaceful silence o’er the woods and valleys rest,

Then the songbirds cease their warbling and it’s quietness everywhere,

Tell me, Oh tell me truly, am I long forgotten there?


Heaven bless you, dear old homestead, where the hearts were fond and true,

Where life’s golden morning vanished, ‘on the banks of the Dalua,

Where my young heart beat with rapture ere my brow was seamed with care,

Is my name e’en now a memory, am I quite forgotten there?


Heart of mine you’re tired of roaming and you sigh for long ago,

How you still long for the old times and the joys you used to know,

But there are countless leagues between you and the “Island” Bright and fair,

Ah! poor heart! You’d break with grieving, if you were forgotten there.


OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, September, 1905


Newmarket in The 50s

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Newmarket in The 50s
A poem by the late Jerry Clifford

I returned to Newmarket, and looked ‘round in dismay,
things were not at all the same, I’d been so long away.
Shops and houses and the streets were very, very changed,
the smaller shops were all closed down, the big one’s re-arranged.
And then I started thinking, and if you’ll come with me,
we’ll do a tour of that fair town, and the way it used to be.

Miss Gillman’s is the first of course, for a glass of ciderene,
and Mrs D.P Shine is next, she was first to have ice-cream.
Then we go to Scully’s, for the best cakes in the town,
and further down the street, we find the famous ‘Eckie Brown’.

To call to Mrs Eddie’s, for the paper was quite handy.
t’was here we bought ‘The Hotspur’, ‘The Beano’, and ‘the Dandy’.
And here too was ‘Lizzie Danihy’ with her ‘famous eating house’
and next door we had Mag Bunworth for silk stockings or a blouse.

And now we’ve Quinlan’s Hardware shop for a hay knife or a raker,
and back the street Nick Barry, clothes shops and undertaker.
And right here too is Sheehan’s shop, a fine chemist that’s for sure,
for colds or influenza, you bet Michael had the cure.

Jack Angland’s is the next shop now, furniture old and new,
and by a strange coincidence as undertaker too.
And now we walk across the street and to our right and then,
we gaze into that draper’s shop, and we chat with ‘Denny Ben’.
He had a lot of fabric there, with silk and satin fine,
then two doors further up the street, that grocery man Tim Ryan,
And next we have Tim Barry, baking white flour by the ton,
a big and decent man he was, just like his penny bun.

And now we meet with ‘Lizzie May’, there’s Julia and brother Joe,
it is a corner on it’s own, three Cronins in a row.
They spent long hours inside those shops, their efforts were quite tireless,
and Tommy Cronin was next door, you’d get bacon or a wireless.

A few doors further up the street, you remember just like me,
we meet that famous draper, the man called ‘Jack D.D’
He had a lovely draper’s shop, t’was fit for any swank,
but he could cut a caper or on you play a prank.
Paddy Murray is the next, for a suit or shoe or sock,
he was preceded here by Dan Greaney from the Rock.

And now comes Humphrey Murphy with his taxis and strong brew
Dick Scanlan worked here all his life, and Mary Cahill too.
Next the Old Post Office, you had May and Nell and Joan.
and of course their brother Andy, his job was on the phone.

And in my mind I see Con Flynn, he was always called ‘The Boss’,
I raise my hand as I pass by, a salute to Jimmy Cross.
And now we take a right, we’re passing Reardon’s pub,
and we meet up with ‘Decie’ that’s McCarthy’s for the grub.

We look across the street once more, sure Dan Riordans is a chipper,
and right next door is Daly’s shop for pig’s head or a kipper.
And Mary Horgan’s for the fags, we smoked with all our might,
and right across the road was ‘Jinks’ he’d install ‘electric light’

And now we have Flynn’s High Street store with timber and such like,
and across the road, Mc Auliffe’s, we had Lil and brother Mike.
A few steps further on from this you can bet your bottom dollar
Jerry Walsh with awl and thread, would fix your horse’s collar.

We climb on further up the street, and Roy Campbell, I recall,
you might wonder why I mention them, sure we’re passing ‘O Brien’s Hall’.
And now we’re at the Chapel Cross, where all blessings are bestowed,
the Island Road joins with the town, as does the Kerry Road.

On mentioning this highway, you should remember well,
The house that kept the down and outs, t’was called ‘Mag Gould’s Hotel’.
And Minnie and Jack Murphy and their son Danny too,
he’d sing a song or play a tune, an entertainer true.
They were all fine people, they’ve all gone Heaven’s Way,
likewise the man across the road, sure you remember Autie Shea.

I’m standing at Ford’s Corner, I’m looking down the street,
We’ve Ciss and Hannah Deedy for parafin, oil or sweets.
I hear an anvil sounding, its ringing in the air,
I know it’s Paddy Connors, he’s shoeing Curran’s mare.

And then we have Bill Collins he thought he was ‘Oisín’.
And do you remember ‘Statia’, and the art of ‘The Tosheen’
She’d fill it up with sweets you see, t’was as sound as a tin can,
she said The Irish Press was best likewise The Kerryman.
The ‘Tosheen’ was made of paper rolled in a special way,
but the plastic bag put paid to it, the ‘Tosheen’ has had its day.

I’m walking down the hill again, to the bottom of Main Street,
and there I see the Convent Gates where we held ‘The Garden Fete’.
The Church of Ireland, and The Bank, Mike Quane with cow and churn,
and back the street another shop, do you remember Mrs Curran?

And Pat Mulcahy, flour and meal, Ciss Linehan, hats and dresses,
and Vincie of ‘The Medical Hall’ with pills for all your stresses.
I’m standing here at Peggy Quinn’s and I’m thinking of Joe Lane,
his shop is ten times bigger now, t’will never be the same.

And then comes John Joe Murphy, with shoes of every style,
He was followed by Matt Jones who ran it for a while.
Now all these names run through my head, my mind is really swirling,
ah yes! Next door to Dan Joe Brien’s was Kate and Arthur Verling.

And right next door were ‘Larkin’ and his brother Sonny too,
you could hire a car, or buy a bike or radios, old and new.
And now I’m thinking very hard as o’er the bridge I trip
but t’was here ‘round’ 59, I think we had Kelly’s fish and chips.

And now I’m at the Sick House Cross, it’s the quietest part of town,
but two more names had disappeared, Maggie Sullivan and Dan Browne.
I’m walking past Verling Place, Guiney’s Terrace towers above,
the ‘Casino’ then comes into sight, it’s the one place that I love,

T’was there we say ‘Roy Rodgers’ and ‘Singing in the Rain’,
and cowboy pictures of the kind, we’ll never see again.
And if you had a few more pence, of course that would be a dream,
at the interval you’d dash across to Careys for ice-cream.

And if perchance when you read this, I’ve forgotten one or two,
just call around to see me, and I’ll tell you what we’ll do.
We’ll put our heads together and we’ll add a little more,
and we’ll reconstruct that little town we knew in days of yore

The Legend of Mealane

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

The tragic tale of Mealane Ni Auliffe told in the words of Edward Walsh, the Poet of Duhallow.

Tis night and the moon from her
star-clad height
Sheds her mantle of silver hue
o’er Clonfert’s green graves,
And all sparkling bright Daloo in
her gleam
Beams a sheet of light where
murmur its waters blue.

In the gloom from afar o’er the
soothing scene -
The tall cliff and wavy wood.
And mournful and grey are the
rude rocks seen:
So heaves the green turf in
huge mounds between
Where Castle McAuly stood.

Here frowned the dark turrets in
lordly pride;
Here smiled the gay chieftain’s
The clansmen here marshall’d in
order wide;
When war-fires high blazed on
the mountain’s side,
For battle at glory’s call.

Here ne’er shall the string of the
clairseach wake,
The songs of the hall are o’er.
No more shall the voice of the
victor break;
When home o’er the mountain
their wild way take -
The kern and crahodore.

The clansmen who battled with
Saxon foes;
the chief of the lordly dome;
The bard at whose call the stout
clansmen rose;
In death undistinguished all
calm repose.
They are gone to their silent

Lo! Yonder where moss-grown
the gravestones lie,
MacAuliffe sad sought the tomb.
He died not in battle by
victor high;
Heartbroken he yielded his
latest sigh
For Meelan his daughter’s

Daloo! While there glidest thy
groves between,
Shall the maids of thy sunlit
Twine horror-fraught tales of
the nuptial scene,
With the olden lays echoed
through woodland green,
For Meelan, the gold-haired maid.

And mild as the lambkin that
crops the the lea,
And pensive as cowslips pale,
She oft sought the valley alone
- for she
Was woo’d by a chieftain of high
In yonder dark lonely dale.

O’Herly was gallant and brave
and gay;
And chronicles ancient tell,
That Malachy bid his fair
daughter say
Who’d kiss her pure cheek on
the nuptial day -
Her choice on O’Herly fell.

Fond pair! You have woven in
fancy’s loom,
Sweet garlands of pleasure gay;
Dark destiny withers your
garlands’ bloom,
Yet could beauty, could merit,
revoke the doom.
Not yours were this plaintive lay.

The glad nuptial arrives
and lo
the high notes of joy rebound;
The priests are in waiting, a
glorious show -
The bards raptured voices all
sweetly flow,
To join the wild harps soft

As blooms the young rose in the
sunbeams clear
With bright pearly dew bespent,
So fair Meelan shone, through
the smile and tear
When the young chief soothed
each maiden fear
as they to the altar went.

How glorious the pomp of the
lordly train,
that leads the young pair along;
What silver-shod coursers proud
paved the plain -
Clonfert never saw, in her
sacred fame,
so gallant, so fair a throng

To view the proud pageant the
deep crowds press’d,
Warm hearts in hot wars’ urmoil,
Whose lips warmly praying, the
bright pair bless’d,
As they went where the priests
were in surplices dress’s
to the altar along the aisle.
The hollow wind whistled the
tombs among,
The owl from her ivory tower,
her harsh nightly notes on the
daylight rung,
When young Meelan whispered,
with faltering tongue,
Consent to the nuptial power.
The marriage ring wax’d,as the
moonbeam pale,
And deep was her heart’s
dark fall,
As the loud tempest gahtered
adown the dale,
And the bride and the bride-
groom sad sought the vale,
that led to MacAuliffe’s hall.

The hollow wind’s whistle, the
owlet’s cry,
The marriage ring’s paly glow;
The gloom of the moment, the
unconscious sigh,
The lowering dark cloud of the
boding sky,
Proclaim a sad tale of woe.

The sun hath gone down o’er the
mountain sreep,
And tinges its glades with gold;
The voice if the banquet is loud
and deep -
The last and latest that hall
shall keep,
Clanawlwy shall e’er behold.

Poor bride and the handmaids
thy chamber spread,
And show the gay fragrant
Thou wilt press with thy lover
no nuptial bed -
Borne off by enchantment so
drear and dread,
From bridegroom and bridal

The revelry rose on the night’s
dull ear,
The vaulted hall loudly rung -
When Meelan discover’d in
wildest fear,
A stranger was seated beside
her near,
As ‘twelve’ the strict warder

His flowing locks mock’d the
dark raven’s plume,
His carriage commanding high,
Bespoke the proud chieftain;
but silent gloom
O’erspread every bosom
around the room
Though none knew the reason

His bright eye keen flash’d
with unearthly fire,
No mortal might its glow;
The guests of the banquet
with cold hearts retire,
The bard’s fingers ceased o’er
the trembling wire,
His presence such fears

Ye guests of the banquet
surcease your dread;
Right courteous the Stranger
He fills o’er the table the wine
bowl red,
He pledges the bride with low-
bending head -
The bridegroom and chieftain
and all.

He leads the young bride in
the circling dance,
Most regal his robes were
The banquet guests viewed
him with eyes askance -
The bride, oh! She trembled
beneath his glance,
Though graceful and gay his

How quick gleam her steps on
the marble floor,
And gentle her light foot
In the hall which her light foot
oft trod before,
As she led her gay handmaids
that marble o’er
To move in that mazy round.

‘Tis done – when the murmurs
applausive ceased
The chief led the blooming
Where Malachy ‘mid the high
chieftains placed
Presided supreme o’er the
nuptial feast,
Then sat by the maiden’s side.

“Thy light step, fair bride” the
dark stranger said,
“But echoed the music’s sound;
With fair blooming beauties
the dance I’ve led -
Their charms would have van-
ished, their light step fled,
Wert thou in the mazy round.

I have young maid and her
face is thine,
And thine are her tresses long,
And thine is her dark eye of
light divine -
And Oh! If thou listen to
strains of mine
I’ll sing to my fair a song.”

She bow’d – and he raised
some enchanted tone
Ne’er warbled by mortal
If golden-harp’d seraphs to
earth had flown,
The voice of the stranger
would seem their own,
And these were the strains
he sung: -

Thou knowest where yon moun-
tain uprears its huge head,
Where the hoarse torrent roars
down its rude rocky bed,
There stands my bright palace -
high dwelling of air -
And the bride of my bosom shall
smile on me there.
Where the hues of the rainbow
all glorious unite,
Festooning the hall in gay
vapours of light,
Whose diamond-starred pave-
ment now sparkles in sheen,
Far brighter than gems, the
deep grottos of Lene.

The soft bridal bed my beloved
shall share,
I’ve plucked from the perlons of
spirits of air.
And the fairies of ocean by
strong spell beguiled,
Shall soothe her to slumber with
melody wild.

I know where the waters of
loveliness flow,
Whose pure draught can beauty
immortal bestow;
And the rose of her cheek, and
the snow of her brow,
Shall through the wreck’d ages
as peerless as now.

My chariot the wild winds, my
pathway the sky,
O’er wide earth and ocean
unfettered I fly;
And my bright bird of beauty
can wing her quick way
On the zephyr’s soft pinion, as
light fancy may.

I know where the diamonds of
brightness have birth,
In the caves of old ocean and
dark womb of earth;
I’ll choose for my fairest the
rarest of all,
To deck as she pleases the
crystal-built hall.

‘Tis the night of my bridal – I’ve
passed it with you;
The morning star blazes – ye
chieftains, Adieu!
When yearly this dark night of
wonder shall be,
Remember the bridal; and
think, think of me.

High lord of the castle, dark
chief of the wold,
The banquet of feasting I leave
but, behold!
I’ll snatch to my bosom the maid
of my vow,
McAuliffe’s bright daughter,
that maiden art thou.

‘Tis vain, O rash bridegroom
nor tempt my high power
I’ve decked for Meelan the
gay nuptial bower;
My train are in waiting,
impatient I fly,
My chariot the wild winds, my
pathway the sky.

Then rose through the castle
the wild guests fright,
As his strong arm he twined her
And winged through the wide
yawning roof of his flight;
But ne’er was the bride, since
that fear-fraught night,
Or the mysterious stranger,
To yonder rude cliff called from
Meelan’s name,
Through many an olden day -
Where stood the gay hall of
enchanted fame,
Invisible save to the wizard’s
beam -
The mountain-sprite bore his

At night when cottagers calm
And silent the grove and green,
Fair Meelan is oft at the dark
heat’s close,
While swells the sad tale of her
fate and woes,
Near her rock of enchantment

Replies to an Exile

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

From an old friend who in exile
Now for many years has toiled
Come to me news interesting,
In a letter travel soiled,
Of the scenes met in his wandering
And each alien custom too,
But his heart is still o’erflowing
With the ways his childhood knew.

Life within western city
Where the heart of pleasure reigns;
Life entwined with strange adventure
On Oregan’s boundless plains;
Years spent in unbroken silence
With all friends at home but, yet,
One haunt of his early boyhood
He does not to-day forget.

In a plaintive style he queries
If the woods are still the same;
Is the old horse chestnut blooming
On whose bark he carved his name?
Is the rock on Sunday evening
Still a cherished rendezvous
And the valley as attractive
As it used to be to view?

Does the gloomey old Ghost’s Parlour
Still hang out o’er Daloo’s wave,
Or has time left yet unaltered
Lovers’ seat and Meelin’s Cave?
Do the lads in summer twighlight
Gather to the Island Kiln
And is ‘Pata’ in the homeland
For to throw the big weight still?

Thus run on this exile’s questions,
Thus his memories have told
That his heart is still in Erin
While he works for foreign gold
And the lessons that were nutured
Here within his guileless breast
Cling to-day like ivy tendrils
Round him in the far-off West.

Ah, dear friend, works built by nature
Time but rarely overthrows
And your homeland’s golden beauty
Each day only fairer grows.
Those dear places in your visions
No despoiling hand has seen.
Let them rest within your fancy
Brighter now than they have been.

by James Curran

This poem was written by James Curran who lived on the margin of the Island Wood. He was one of a small group of local poets that contributed poems to the Cork Weekly Examiner, a publication, that began in 1896 and continued well into the 20th Century.

UP! UP! Newmarket

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

We’re assembled in New York exiles all from Rebel Cork,
And we’re proud of the flag that o’er us waves.
But to-night our mem’ries turn to the spot where we were born,
To the dear old town that never nursed a slave

UP! UP! Newmarket say the exiles,
UP! UP! Newmarket say they all.
Whether we shall here remain or return home again,
May Newmarket always rise but never fall.

In the lovely Island Wood where with pride we often stood,
Gazing on the scenic beauty all around.
And its rambling up Scarteen, Barleyhill and Meens between,
Oh! What pleasure and contentment there we found.

(Repeat Chorus after each verse)

Boston boasts of Bunker Hill; brave men fought at Gettysville.
Newmarket too, has honours like the rest.
Here ‘t was Curran first drew breath; after Emmet’s tragic death
They laid his sweetheart Sarah here to rest.

When the beagles’ bugle horn woke the hills on Sunday Morn
Brennan and Pat Williams made the pace.
How the hounds would yelp and howl, run their chase into the ground!
And we followed in the rapture of the chase.

And when after ’98 the Croppies were all bate,
The Whiteboys held their ground on Scarteen Hill.
Three brave priests were martyred there and and their last words were a prayer
For the land they fondly loved and we love still.

by Dan O’Connell

Dan O’Connell, a native of the Island, wrote the ballad while in exile in New York.