Shady woods of Truagh


From out the shady woods of Truagh, MacKenna rides at noon
The sun shines brightly, not a cloud darkens the skys of June
No eye has he for nature’s charms, they don’t distract his brain
As through the flowery vales he takes his way and never draws the reins

Until before him loom the towers of Glaslough Castle’s Hold
Which holds a treasure in its walls more dear to him than gold
For in it dwells his own true love, the dark eyed young Maureen
Whom he hopes that God will bless his home in the woods of Truagh so green

I have come to look upon you love for its soon that I must go
With my brave Truagh Men to Benburb there to defend Owen Roe
I have come to look upon you Love, and hear your answer sweet
For I might in the battle fall and we might never meet

Go forth my love, my blessings go and smite the saxon horde
And when you return I’ll be your bride without another word
With in fond embrace, they bid adieu as the evening sun went down
Behind yon western wooded hill that overlooks Glaslough Town

MacKenna lightly mounts his steed at the twighlight of the eve
And he heads her over Dasa Hill and Truagh’s green shady Lee
That night he leads his gallant men o’er the dark hills of Tyrone
To meet the army of the North at Benburb on their own

Right well O’Neill was glad to see those gallant mountaineers
Who kept the Saxon wolves at bay round ancient Truagh for years
Full well they fought on Benburb’s Plains as Englands flag went down
And few that night escaped them toward Carrickfergus Town

The Autumn’s winds being in the air and berries ripe and red
MacKenna and his lovely bride in Glaslough Church were wed
And never in her father’s thoughts a fairer bride was seen
Than McMahon’s only daughter, the dark eyed young Maureen


In 1607 Patrick McKenna was granted about 250 acres of the Barony of Truagh in North County Monaghan by the Lord Chief Deputy of Ireland. It was from here that Major John McKenna ‘rode at noon’ to join Owen Roe. At the Battle of Drumbanagher, he became the first casualty if the Williamite Wars. In 1694 after the Williamite campaign, his son (also John McKenna) was censured under the articles of the Limerick Treaty. In 1703 he sold the Truagh estate but returned soon after to lease land in the area again.

truagh fort

Song Clip



Song Themes

1641 Rebellion