General Michael Collins


Come listen ye true men to my simple rhyme
For it tells of a young man cut off in his prime
A soldier and a statesman who laid down the law
And who died by the roadside in lone Béal na Bla

When barely sixteen he to England crossed o’er
To work as a boy clerk in Government store
But the Volunteers’ summons he could not disobey
So to Dublin he came back to join in the fray

At Larkfield near Kimmage, he joined the brave band
Of exiles returning to free their dear land
By drilling and training by night and by day
With rifle and bayonet, they learned the hard way

At Easter nineteen sixteen when Pearse called them out
The ‘Lambs’ of old Larkfield rose up with a shout
And in the Post Office, they nobly did show
How a handful of heroes could outfacee the foe

To Stafford and Frongoch transported they were
And as prisoners of England, they soon made a stir:
Released before Christmas and home once again
He banded old comrades together to train

Dail Eireann assembled our rights to proclaim
Suppressed by the English, you’d think it a shame
How Ireland’s best and bravest were harried and torn
From the arms of their loved ones and children new-born

For years Mick eluded their soldiers and spies
For he was a master of clever disguise
With the Custom House blazing, she found ’twas no use
And soon Mother England had to ask for a Truce

For the Treaty he wrung from Lloyd George and his train
He stedfastly pleaded in the Dail but in vain
De Valera and his Die-hards, they forced Civil War
And Mick Collins was ambushed in lone Béal na Bla

Oh, when will our young men, the sad lesson learn
That brother on brother they never should turn
Alas! that a split in our ranks we e’er saw
Or Mick Collins stretched‘ lifeless in lone Béal na Bla

Oh, Long will old Ireland be seeking in vain
Ere she find a new leader to match the man slain
A true son of Griinne the name long will shine
Of gallant Mick Collins cut off in his prime


Michael Collins (16 October 1890 – 22 August 1922) was Ireland’s foremost inspirational and revolutionary leader during the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War. He was Minister for Finance and TD for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919. As a member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations, Collins commented ‘I have just signed my own death warrant’.  He was shot and killed in an ambush in Béal na Bla, County Cork on August 1922 during the Irish Civil War.

Michael Collins


Song Clip