Scariff Martyrs


The dreadful news through Ireland has spread from shore to shore
Such a deed, no living man has ever heard before
The deeds of Cromwell in his time, I’m sure no worse could do
Than them Black and Tans that murdered those four youths in Killaloe

Three of the four were on the run and searched for all around
Until with this brave Egan, in Williamstown was found
They questioned him and tortured him, but to his comrades, he proved true
And because he would not tell their whereabouts, he was shot in Killaloe

On the twelfth day of Novembe,r the day that they were found
Sold and traced through Galway to that house near Williamstown
They never got a fighting chance but were captured while asleep
And the way that they ill-treated them, would cause your blood to creep

The shackled them both hands and feet with twines, they could not break
And brought them down to Killaloe by steamer on the lake
Without clergy, judge or jury, on the bridge, they shot them down
And their blood flowed with the Shannon, convenient to the town

After three days of perseverance, their bodies they let go
And ten pm, the funeral passed through Ogonnolloe
They were kept in Scariff chapel for two nights and a day
Now in that place of rest they lie, kind people for them pray

If you were at the funeral, it was an awful sight
To see four hundred clergymen and they all dressed up in white
Such a sight as these four martyrs in one grave, was never seen
They died to save the flag of love, the orange white and green

Now that they are dead and gone, I hope in peace they’ll rest
Like all young Irish martyrs, forever among the blessed
The day will come when all will know who sold their lives away
Of young McMahon and Rogers, brave Egan and Kildea


Following a republican attacks on Scariff RIC barracks in November 1920, Sergeant Brennan of the RIC, along with Auxiliaries from Killaloe, used local knowledge and information to help him identify and locate those responsible for the attacks. Three IRA volunteers, Michael McMahon, Alfred Rodgers and Martin Gildea, along with caretaker Michael Egan, were arrested on 16th of November at Williamstown House on the shores of Lough Derg. They were taken to Killaloe where they were interrogated and tortured, before being executed on the Shannon bridge between Killaloe and Ballina. Because the young volunteers had been careless about their security, many locals knew of their movements. This made it impossible for the IRA to find the identity of the informer.

Song Clip