Boys of Ballinamore


Come all you young Irishmen that are inclined to roam
To reap the English harvest, so far away from home
Be sure you’re well provided with comrades just and true
For you’ll have to fight both day and night with Johnny Bull and his crew

When we left home for Dublin, the weather it was fair
And when we got on board the ship we gave a hearty cheer
Hurrah! my boys, for Paddy’s land, the place we all adore
The heavens smile on every child that loves the Shamrock shore

We sailed away from Dublin quay and ne’er received a shock
’Till we landed safe on shore once more one side of Clarence Dock
Where numbers of our Irish boys, they met us in the town
And ‘Hurrah for Paddy’s lovely land’ was the toast that went around

With one consent away we went to drink strong ale and wine
And each man drank a favourite health to the girl he left behind
We drank and sung till the ale-house rung, despising Erin’s foes
Or any man that hates the land where Patrick’s Shamrock grows

Next morning by the break of day, as quickly you shall hear
One hundred strong we marched along without either dread or fear
Each man had his blackthorn stick he brought from Paddy’s land
And a hook that gleamed like polished steel or silver in his hand

For three days we tramped away high wages for to find
And on the following evening we came to a railway line
The navvies they came up to us and loudly they did rail
They cursed and damned the Paddies and the sons of Granuail

Up starts Barney Walsh and says, ‘Boys what do you mean?
Are we not men as well as you and hate a coward’s name
So Faugh-a-Ballagh, clear the way, or some of you must fall
For here we stand, true Irishmen that never feared a call’

These English navvies cursed and swore they’d kill us ten times o’er
They would make us remember Banamuck and Glevnamore
Brave Father Maguire, just and true, they cursed his blessed remains
Which made our County Leitrim boys to burn for revenge

Up steps Barney Riley and he knocks their ganger down
The bricks and stones, they flew like hail, in showers they came down
We fought from half past four until the sun was going to set
When Riley says, ‘My Irish boys, I fear we will be beat’

‘Come now with me, my countrymen resume the fight once more
We’ll assail the foes on every side more desperate than before
We’ll let them know before we go, we’d rather fight than fly
For at the worst of times, my boys, you know we’d rather die’

We sallied back with Barney and challenged another round
Like Samson with the Philistines we laid them on the ground
We fought our way, the lifelong day to force them to give o’er
We proved to them we were Irishmen from sweet old Ballinamore

When the fight commenced the second time, ’tis there you’d see some fun
The hooks and sticks were flashing, till the navvies were undone
The cowardly clan, away they ran, their heads and arms sore
They’ll remember Barney Riley and the boys of Ballinamore

So here’s long life to Riley, M’Cormack and M’Cabe
And likewise brave M’Gorner who never was afraid
And every man from Paddy’s land that fought upon that day
And forced those English navvies in gangs to run away


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