Three brave blacksmiths


Three brave blacksmiths
Down in County Clare
They wouldn’t shoe a grabber’s horse
They wouldn’t shoe his mare
They would not take his money
For his threats, they didn’t care
They’d rather go unshod themselves
Than shame the County Clare

Three brave blacksmiths
Were marched away to jail
Off they went, quite content
Their spirits didn’t fail
They would not make apologies
They would not offer bail
And so they got their punishment
A day for every nail

Three brave blacksmiths
Coming home once more
Met a crowd of loving friends
At the prison door
The people cheered behind them
And the music played before
Until each blacksmith stood again
On his cabin floor

Three brave blacksmiths
Heard with grateful pride
From their wives and little ones
How they were well supplied
Kept in every comfort
By the neighbours far and wide
And in the fullness of their health
With joy they nearly cried

Blacksmiths, whitesmiths
Tradesmen everywhere
Farmers, labourers, see your model there
Be you all as ready for the cause to do and dare
As the three brave blacksmiths
Down in County Clare

Clare 1

Songs of Clare


Written by T D Sullivan

In 1888 in Miltown Malbay, three local blacksmiths, Maguire, Moloney and Heaney, were jailed for supporting the boycotting of a local landlord, Mrs Burdett Moroney, by refusing to shoe the horse of one of her employees. They were sentenced to a day for every nail they would have used, a total of 28 days.

The term ‘grabber’ in the first verse is an 18th – 19th century expression, an abbreviation of ‘land-grabber’, referring to a person who took possession of lands of evicted tenants. The song was written by T D Sullivan, Land Leaguer and editor of The Nation, and was first published in 1888 in Prison Poems or Lays of Tullamore.




Song Themes

Land League