At Boolavogue as the sun was setting
O’ér the bright May meadows of Shelmalier
A rebel hand set the heather blazing
And brought the neighbours from far and near
Then Father Murphy from old Kilcormack
Spurred up the rock with a warning cry
‘Arm, arm’ he cried, ‘for I’ve come to lead you
For Ireland’s freedom we fight or die’

He led us on against the coming soldiers
And cowardly yeomen, we put to flight
‘twas at the Harrow, the boys of Wexford
Showed Bookies regiments how men could fight
Look out for hirelings, King George of England
Search every kingdom where breathes a slave
For Fr. Murphy from County Wexford
Sweeps o’er the land like a mighty wave

We took Camolin and Enniscorthy
And Wexford storming, drove out our foes
`twas at Slieve Coilte, our pikes were reeking
With the crimson blood of the beaten Yeos
At Tubberneering and Ballyellis
Full many a Hessian lay in his gore
Ah, Father Murphy, had aid come over
The green flag floated from shore to shore

At Vinegar Hill o’er the pleasant Slaney
Our heroes vainly stood back to back
And the yeos at Tullow took Fr. Murphy
And burnt his body upon the rack
God grant you glory, brave Fr.Murphy
And open heaven to all your men
The cause that called you may call tomorrow
In another fight for the green again

Wexford 1

Songs of Wexford



Boolavogue is a village 8 miles north of Enniscorthy in County Wexford.
It gave its name to the ballad commemorating the Rebellion of 1798 when local parish priest Father John Murphy led his parishioners into battle on May 26, 1798. The Wexford insurgents were eventually defeated at the Battle of Vinegar Hill on June 21. Father Murphy and the other rebel leaders were killed. Fr Murphy was hanged, decapitated, his corpse burnt in a barrel of tar and his head placed on a spike as a warning to other rebels, many of whom nevertheless fought on for up to five years afterwards.


Boolavogue Parish Church




Song Themes

1798 Rebellion