His war-horse beats a distant bourne
Till comes the glad new year
Therefore thy wheel in silence turn
And only dream him near
He fights where native monarchs be
Where Moors no longer reign
He strikes and cries, “My land, for thee”
Amid delivered Spain

O maiden of the moon-pale face
And darkly lucid eye
For knights wave-washed round Smerwick’s base
Fair Spanish maidens sigh
The moss, till comes the glad new year
Alone may clothe the bough
Alone the raindrop deck the breer
It weeps, and so must thou


Written by Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)

Siege of Smerwick (Ballyferriter, Dingle. Co Kerry) took place at Ard na Caithne (formerly known as Smerwick) in 1580 during the Second Desmond Rebellion. A 400–500 strong force of Papal soldiers (Spanish and Italian troops) captured the town but were forced to retreat to nearby Dún an Óir, where they were besieged by the English Army. The defenders eventually surrendered and most of them were then massacred on the orders of the English commander, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Arthur Grey.

Song Clip



Song Themes

Desmond Rebellions