Battle of Granard


Down by Sheelin’s vale at sunset
Fierce as demons in their wrath
Spread a band of English troopers
Fire and carnage marked their path

Midnight shines, and blazing rooftrees
Lit the darkness of the night
From the shores of fair Lough Gowna
To the slopes of Granard’s height

Maid and mother fell before them
All in wrath and vengeance smote
And in pride, the foeman’s legion
Onward sped to Granard’s Moat

We marched that morn from Creenagh
To oppose them on their way
And by river, lake or mountain
Made we neither stop or stay

Till a band of English troopers
Crossed our path at Edgeworthstown
And we piked the last red foeman
As the evening sun went down

Early in the dewy morning
As the day began to dawn
Towards the ancient moat of Granard
We were proudly marching on

High o’er-head us waved our banner
In its beauty fair and free
Borne by men from Carrickmoira
And the plains of Killashee

From the banks of Cloonart river
And from Cleaney’s village green
Hastening onwards to the onset
Many a gallant youth was seen

As we reached the heights of Granard
Right before us formed in line
We could see the English legion
And their spears and banner shine

For a moment’s pace we halted
As we came within their view
Then a deadly thirst for vengeance
Filled our bosoms through and through

With a shout that loudly echoed
To the far-off Shannon shore
Through the red ranks of the foeman
In a furious rush we tore

With that rush our gallant pikemen
Leaped against their foremost line
And their blades drank deep in vengeance
For many a bloody crime

Fast and deadly every weapon
Found a Saxon foeman’s breast
As our fierce and maddened pikemen
Through their columns thickly pressed

Granard’s ancient moat was reddened
By the blood of friend and foe
Well we met them with their bayonets
With our pike their sabre-blow.

Backwards pressed against the valley
Bravely fighting to the last
But again our gallant pikemen
Gathered round them fierce and fast

Morning saw their haughty standard
In its pride and glory wave
Evening saw the foeman’s legion
Crushed and sunk in one red grave

And where stood, the ranks of Britain
By the light of morning’s dawn
O’er their graves in proud defiance
Erin’s rebel banner shone

Longford long shall tell the story
How her children bravely stood
In that fight for Erin’s glory
Brave and stern as freemen should

And their deeds shall nerve their brothers
When they grasp the freeman’s brand
To go forth, to fall or conquer
For the rights of motherland


Battle of Granard 2

Humbert re-enactment at Ballina

By July of 1798, the rising in Ireland was virtually at an end. The arrival of General Humbert with a force of 1,000 well armed French soldiers at Killala on the 22nd August was a disaster. He was too late. If he had landed at Wexford earlier in the year, he would have had a better chance. It was doomed for failure despite initial successes at Ballina and Castlebar, His march eastward from Killala led to the inevitable massacre at Ballinamuck Co. Longford.

By September 4th 1798, British Generals Cornwallis and Lake with the far greater number of 25,000 troops were just 12 miles from Castlebar. Lake believed in more shock tactics and prompt punishments. At Granard, where 2,000 United Irishmen who had risen to join Humbert were defeated by heavily armed British Yeomanry, Lake commenced a reign of terror. Countless prisoners were taken to the site of the present church at Granard for hanging. Those not hanged were tied up and left lying on the street of Granard overnight. In the morning a herd of cattle was driven over them and anyone not killed by the cattle was shot. In the days that followed, an orgy of burnings, floggings and shootings began. These were terror tactics to deter anyone who might have thought of joining up with Humbert’s forces.



Song Themes

1798 Rebellion