Hills of Glenswilly


Attention pay, my countrymen, and hear my native news
Although my song is sorrowful, I hope you’ll me excuse
I left my peaceful residence, a foreign land to see
And I bid farewell to Donegal, likewise to Glenswilly

Some stalwart men around me stood, each comrade loyal and true
And as I grasped each well-known hand to bid a last adieu
I said, My fellow countrymen, I hope you’ll soon be free
To raise the flag more proudly o’er the hills of Glenswilly

It is these cruel English laws, they curse our native isle
Must Irishmen always live like slaves or else die in exile ?
There’s not a man to strike a blow or to keep down tyranny
Since Lord Leitrim, like a dog was shot not far from Glenswilly

No more beside the sycamore, I’ll hear the blackbird sing
No more to meet the blithe cuckoo to welcome back the spring
No more I’ll plow your fertile fields, a chuisle geal mo chroidhe
On foreign soil I’m doomed to toil, far, far from Glenswilly

God bless you, dark old Donegal, my own dear native land
In dreams I’ve often seen your hills and your towering mountains grand
But the last three thousand miles of life separates these hills from me
I’m a poor forlorn exile, cast far, far from Glenswilly
I’m a poor forlorn exile, cast far, far from Glenswilly


Written by Michael McGinley to the air of Homes of Donegal.

This is a song to one of the trio, Michael Heraghty, Michael McElwee and Neil Sheils who ambushed and killed Lord Leitrim at Cratlagh Wood, near Milford, Co Donegal on 2 April 1878.

Song Clip