Galloping Hogan


They have sent for fresh artillery
The guns are on the way
God help our hapless Limerick
When dawns another day’
Thus speaks the gallant Sarsfield
As sadly he recalls
The famine and despair that lurk
Behind these crumbling walls

‘And yet one blow for freedom
One daring midnight ride
And William may be humbled yet
For all his power and pride
‘Go, Bring to me ‘The Galloper’
To Highway Hogan say
‘Tis Ireland has need of him
And him alone today’

The Soldier and the Highwayman
Are standing face to face
The fearless front, the eagle eye
In both of them we trace
‘Hogan; the night is dark and drear
Say, canst thou lead the way
To Keeper Mountain’s black ravines
Ere dawn another day ?

‘Can the eagle find his eyrie ?
Can the fox forget his den ?
I can lead ye as none other
Of the Slievecamatha men
The black mare knows it blindfolded
It’s not by stars she’ll steer
Ye’ll be to-night on the Keeper’s height
And the dawn will find ye there’

‘Lead on’ and well he led them
Though the Shannon ford ran deep
And though the white-lipped flood ran deep
Around O’Brien’s Keep.
The sentinel on Killaloe
Looked out but failed to see
Five hundred silent horsemen ride
Behind the rapparee

That night by Balleneety’s towers
The English gunners lay
King William’s Camp and safety lies
But twelve short miles away
What need of further caution ?
What Irish wolf would dare
To prowl around their camp tonight
So near the.lion’s lair ?

An Irish wolf is near them now
And Irish ears have heard
The chosen watchword for the night
And ‘sarsfield’ was the word
A tramp’ of horse – ‘Who’s there?’
The word ‘Sarsfield’ the answer ran
And then the sword smote downwards
‘Ay, and Sarsfield is the man’

‘To arms, the foe; too late, too late’
Though Villiers’ vengeful blade
Is wet with Hogan’s life blood
As he leads the ambuscade
Then foot to foot and hand to hand
They battle round the guns
Till victory declares itself
For Erin’s daring sons

‘Oh for those guns in Limerick now
Placed on the city walls
We’d bid King William breakfast
On his own black cannon balls
It may not be but trebly charged
And filled with shot and shell
They’ll toll the robber’s requiem
And sound the soldier’s knell’

Oh, sudden flash of blinding light
Oh, hollow-sounding roar
Down history’s pages in Irish ears
It echoes evermore
And Balleneety’s blackened tower
Still marks the famous place
Where Sarsfield staked his all to win
And won that midnight race


galloping hogan

Michael “Galloping” Hogan was born in the parish of Doon at the foot of the Slieve Phelim hills in East Limerick. Formerly a wealthy landowner, he became a ‘rapparee’ or brigand following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. In 1690, along with Patrick Sarsfield and 500 Jacobite troops, he blew up the Williamite siege train at Ballyneety, Co. Limerick.
The Williamite war continued until the Treaty of Limerick was signed in October 1691. But Galloping Hogan refused to accept the Treaty and carried on the struggle for a further six months before finally leaving Ireland in 1692. He ended his career as a senior officer in the Portuguese army. He remained in Portugal until his death, and reared a distinguished family whose descendants still live in Portugal today. Galloping Hogan was one of the 14,000 soldiers who left Ireland in 1691. This Exodus is known as the Flight of the Wild Geese.

Song Clip



Song Themes

Siege of Limerick