Bold Mc Dermott Roe


Come all ye wild young gentlemen, so reckless and so bold
My hardship and my miseries, I’m going to unfold
Mc Dermott Roe is my name, a man of birth well known
And by my wicked follies, to destruction I was prone

I headed the Defenders, as their captain ’tis the truth,
In the County of Roscommon I was called the undaunted youth
One thousand men at my command, no rent I’d let be paid
For to raise an army, of that I was not afraid

Part of my men being taken, to rescue them I did speed
Like Hector bold I ventured, but in it did not succeed
I fought as brave as any till half my face was shot away
Nor did I turn a traitor or from my brave boys run away

So McDermott Roe was taken and laid in Roscommon gaol
Although my friends were rich and great, for me they’d take no bail
Twice I was at assizes tried, and each time guilty found
But yet they dare not hang me for fear ofthe country round

There are numbers in the country would shed salt tears for me
Would venture life and limb to save me from the gallows tree
Farewell dear honoured father, you’ve thousands lost by me
Your trouble grieves me more than going to face the gallows tree

To Dublin I was brought to hang upon the gallows tree
’Tis little thought I at the time of my nativity
My father was a gentleman and my mother a lady gay
One thousand was her fortune upon her wedding day

There were estated gentlemen that do belong to me
And did I lead a sober life, it’s hanged I ne’er would be
To back the poor against the rich with them did not agree
And so McDermott Roe must die in shame and misery


I think this song is about Thomas MacDermot Roe, born circa 1751, who was Colonel of the Athleague Rangers, a Roscommon militia organisation. During the French Revolution, he joined Lord Edward Fitzgerald and other Irish nationalists in Paris to enlist French support for Irish resistance to English rule. He was a brother of Owen MacDermot Roe who was secretary of the Dublin Society of United Irishmen.



Song Themes

1798 Rebellion