Dungannon Convention


The church in Dungannon is full to the door
And sabre and spur clash at times on the floor
While helmet and shako are ranged all along
Yet no book of devotion is seen in the throng
In the front of the altar no minister stands
But the crimson clad chief of those warrior bands
And though solemn the looks and the voices around
You’d listen in vain for a litany’s sound
Say! What do they hear in the temple of prayer?
Oh! Why in the fold has the lion his lair?

Sad, wounded, and wan was the face of our isle
By English oppression and falsehood and guile
Yet when to invade it, a foreign fleet steered
To guard it for England, the North volunteered
From the citizen soldiers, the foe fled aghast
Still they stood to their guns when the danger had past
For the voice of America came o’er the wave
Crying ‘Woe to the tyrant, and hope to the slave’
Indignation and shame through their regiments speed
They have arms in their hands, and what more do they need?

O’er the green hills of Ulster, their banners are spread
The cities of Leinster resound to their tread
The valleys of Munster with ardour are stirred
On the plains of wild Connaught, their bugles have heard
A Protestant front-rank and Catholic rere
Forbidden the arms of freemen to bear
Yet foemen and friend are full sure, if need be
The slave for his country will stand by the free
By green flags supported, the Orange flags wave
And the soldier half turns to unfetter the slave

More honoured that Church of Dungannon is now
Than when at its altar, communicants bow
More welcome to heaven than anthem or prayer
Are the rites and the thoughts of the warriors there
In the name of all Ireland, the Delegates swore
‘We’ve suffered too long and we’ll suffer no more’
Unconquered by force, we were vanquished by fraud
And now in God’s temple, we vow unto God
That never again shall the Englishman bind
His chains on our limbs or his laws on our mind

The church of Dungannon is empty once more
No plumes on the altar, no cash on the floor
But the councils of England are fluttered to see
In the cause of their country, the Irish agree
So they gave as a boon what they dare not withhold
And Ireland, a nation, leaps up as of old
With a name and a trade and a flag of her own
And an army to fight for the people and throne
But woe worth the day if to falsehood or fears
She surrenders the guns of her brave Volunteers


Written by Thomas Osborne Davis.

On 28 December 1781, members of the Southern Battalion of the County Armagh Volunteers convened and resolved for a meeting in which delegates from every volunteer association in the province of Ulster were requested to attend. On the arranged date, 15 February 1782, delegates from 147 Volunteer corps arrived at the Presbyterian church, at Scotch Street, Dungannon for what would became known as the ‘Dungannon Convention of 1782′. The church had formerly been the favourite meeting place of the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster and later the supreme ecclesiastical court of Irish Presbyterians. After the Convention it was known as the ‘Church of the Volunteers’.

Song Clip



Song Themes

1798 Rebellion