Hackler from Grouse Hall


I am a roving hackler lad that loves the shamrock shore
My name is Pat McDonnell and my age is eighty-four
Beloved and well-respected by my neighbours one and all
On St. Patrick’s day, I loved to stray round Lavey and Grouse Hall

When I was young, I danced and sung and drank good whiskey too
Each shebeen shop that sold a drop of the real old mountain dew
With the poiteen still on every hill, the peelers had no call
Round sweet Stradone, I am well known, round Lavey and Grouse Hall

I rambled round from town to town, for hackling was my trade
None can deny I think, that I an honest living made
Where e’er I’d stay by night or day, the youth would always call
To have some crack with Paddy Jack, the hackler from Grouse Hall

I think it strange, how times have changed so very much of late
Coercion now is all the go of Peelers on their beat
To take a glass is now, alas, the greatest crime of all
Since Balfour placed that angry beast as Sergeant of Grouse Hall

The busy tool of Castle rule, he travels night and day
He’ll seize a goat just by the throat for want of better prey
The nasty skunk, he’ll swear you’re drunk, though you took none at all
There is no peace about the place since he came to Grouse Hall

’twas on pretence of this offence, he dragged me off to jail
Alone to dwell in a cold cell, my fate for to bewail
My hoary head on a plank bed, such wrongs for vengeance call
He’ll rue the day, he dragged away the hackler from Grouse Hall

He haunts the League just like a plague, and shame for to relate
The priest can’t be on Sunday free, the Mass to celebrate
It’s there he’ll kneel, encased in steel, prepared on duty’s call
For to assail and drag to jail, our clergy from Grouse Hall

Down into hell, he’d run pell-mell, to hunt for poiteen there
And won’t be loath to swear an oath, ’twas found in Killinkere
He’ll search your bed from foot to head, sheets, blankets, kit and all
Your wife, undressed, must leave the nest for Jemmy of Grouse Hall

He fixed a plan for one poor man who had a handsome wife
To take away without delay, her liberty and life
He’d swear quite plain that he’s insane, and got no sense at all
As he has done of late with one, convenient to Grouse Hall

Thank God the day’s not far away when Home Rule will be seen
And brave Parnell, at home will dwell, and shine in College Green
Our policemen will all be then, our nation’s choice and all
Old Balfour’s pack will get the sack and banish from Grouse Hall

Let old and young clear out their lungs and sing this little song
Come join with me and let him see you all resent the wrong
And while I live, I’ll always give a prayer for his downfall
And when I die, I don’t deny, I’ll haunt him from Grouse hall


Grouse Hall is located at Loughduff, County Cavan, north of Granard on the N 55.

“Balfour” who drove the punitive action against unrest in Ireland was Lord Balfour, UK Prime Minister from July 1902 to December 1905.