Woodlands of Loughglynn


The summer’s sun was sinking low behind the western sea
The lark’s loud song was pealing sweet, but it brought no joy to me
For the one I loved is far away; he left his tyrant’s din
He fought till death and then he left the Woodlands of Loughglynn

A noble Irishman was he; John Bergin was his name
He belonged to Tipperary, and from Nenagh town he came
But now thank God that he is gone, away from harm and sin
And he let them have his parting shot in the Woodlands of Loughglynn

McDermott, too, was brave and true, from the plains of Ballinagare
He’ll be missed at many a fireside, at home, both near and far
He’ll be missed at home in Tully, too, by his own dear kith and kin
And his comrades true will miss him too, in Woodlands of Loughglynn

Young Bergin said that he was proud to die for Ireland’s cause
The deed was done that should be done against England’s cruel laws
Saying, “Goodbye to Tipperary and to every dale and glen
And to all my faithful comrades in the Woodlands of Loughglynn

Take this message to our own brave boys and tell them we are dead
Tell them to be of utmost cheer, and hold no drooping head
To keep the flag still flying high, to fight and not give in
And be proud to die ‘neath an Irish sky in the Woodlands of Loughglynn


The beautiful woodland on the outskirts of Loughglynn, Co Roscommon is honoured in song in what has become something of a local ‘anthem’.

John Bergin and Stephen McDermott, shot by Black and Tans on 19 April 1921, were members of the local IRA Flying Column. They, along with two other members of the Column, Joe Satchwell and Thomas (Toby) Scally were holded up in Roger McDermott’s ‘safe’ house near Loughlynn when it was surrounded by Black and Tans under a Captain McKay of the Leicestershire Regiment.

The men fled barefoot but all were quickly captured, a couple being wounded in the process. A ‘drumhead’ ‘court martial’ was quickly held and Bergin and McDermott were sentenced to death. Captain McKay wanted to have them shot in Castlerea ‘to encourage the others’. However the Tans couldn’t wait and just shot them on the spot. Satchwell and Scally were badly beaten but survived. All subsequent accounts of the incident are based on their memories. McDermott was aged 19 and Bergin aged 22.

The song was written by Leitrim man James Keane, the father of the Rev. Bernard Keane, Chaplain at Loughlynn Convent and later parish priest at Athleague.

John Bergin was born in Buffanoke, Cappamore, Co. Limerick on 26th. September 1900