To the school in Kildavin, we’d walk through the hollow
Down the long lane and then over the brook
Schoolmaster O’Leary would smile as we entered
Then gently invite us to read from a book
The Kennys, the Kinsellas, Kavanaghs and Conways
We all sat together inside the school door
My memories and dreams, forever they lead to
My old Carlow home in the vale of Craanmore

Tending sheep on the hillside that led to Kilbranish
Where frockins* were plentiful, sweeter than rare
Looking out over Clonegal, Myshall and Ballon
My back to Mount Leinster above the Blackstairs
The town of Bunclody, for treats we might visit
Just once every two years or three, never more
For life was a treasure without and within it
My old Carlow home in the vale of Craanmore

Looking out o’er the half-door of that two roomed cottage
Beneath the thatched roof that gave shelter to ten
From the crook o’er the flame that was fired by the fanners
The black pot and kettle swung slowly again
Then down to the well to fetch cool crystal water
While hens and young chickens strode round the stone floor
A candle burned bright for the rosary each night
In my old Carlow home in the vale of Craanmore

*Wild blueberries that grow on hillsides around Mount Leinster


My mother and her seven brothers and sisters were born and reared in a tiny cottage in Craanmore, County Carlow. They went to school in Kildavin where the schoolmaster was F M O’Leary.


Family homestead in Craanmore

Kildavin village

Kildavin village

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Reg Keating