Posted in Posts and podcasts

Corcomroe – 1911

Connacht Tribune 7th January, 1911 p.12

Effigy of King Conor O'Brien († 1268). His grandfather founded the monastery 74 years earlier.  Photo: Andreas F. Borchert
Effigy of King Conor O’Brien († 1268). His grandfather founded the monastery 74 years earlier.
Photo: Andreas F. Borchert

(To an effigy in Corcomroe Abbey, Co. Clare, of Prince Conor O’Brien of Thomond, killed in the battle of “Suidhne.” A.D. 1267).

God rest your soul, O’Brien,
Thomond’s Prince so brave,
Proud eagle of the mountains,
Your pride is now the grave.

Your noble head is lowly,
That stooped to no man’s might,
Your eyes are closed for ever
That once could flash so bright.

That blazed with lust of battle,
With vengeance unfulfilled.
For honest, left lone and desolate,
For hearts for ever stilled.

When the war note sounded proudly
O’er echoing hill and vale,
And your clansmen gathered round you.
The bold and fearless Gael.

Whose spears were long and shining.
Whose battle-axe was keen.
Whose hearts were warm and faithful
To your waving flag of green.

Borne by you once so proudly
To many a battle plain.
Then, led by harp and fife
On came your thundering train.

Till that bitter day at “Suidhne”
When you joined the foremost ranks
Till your lifeblood stained the ferns
And your charger’s reeking flanks.

You were the gallant leader,
The bravest of brave kings;
Not a mouth for men to speak through.
Not a puppet drawn by strings.

And the world has nigh forgotten you.
Your fame has passed away,
With the sorrowing hearts that laid you
To slumber in the clay.

With the loving hands that chiselled
Your effigy in strong,
Where you’ve lain for seven hundred years,
In Corcomroe so lone.

As I gaze upon stony features
Time rolls its shade away,
And I look down chains of centuries
Filled with such ruin and decay.

To the time when you wielded the sceptre
With wisdom beyond your years,
When your will was strong and unbending,
Your heart a stranger to fears.

I see you in pride of young manhood
Your noble brow uncreased,
The hope and pride of Thomond
Ready for foray or for feast.

In your “Dun” hospitality lingered,
You shared the wealth of your board
The red wine, the white and the yellow,
In the “Mether” went round at your board.

When the clans gathered round for the feasting,
Brave men and women fair,
But you, great Conor “Na Suidhaineach”
Crowned the revelry there.

But the mirth and the revels are ended,
The song of the bard is not more,
Harper and piper are silent,
The wail of your clans is long o’er

The halls of your home are forsaken
The glories, O long since have fled,
Deserted by all save the night owls,
And the ghosts of forgotten dead.

Can you look from your home with the angels,
On the land of your love and pride,
And see what the long years have brought us,
Since that bitter day you died.

How sad, O how sad, are the changes,
How fallen our greatness since then,
When the crash and the clash of battle,
Resounded o’er mountain and glen.

But the foreigner’s power was stronger,
And Ireland, once as free as air,
Is bound in the chain of oppression,
Her noble head bowed in despair.

Our homes oft set blazing around us,
Our kin forced to flee from the land,
Famine oft stalked through the country,
With sickness and death hand in hand.

Heroes have often arisen,
And shook off the lethargic pall,
Which wrapped us in gloom and oppression,
Since our fair country’s fall.

Then hope sprung anew in our bosoms,
Our pulses throbbed quick as of yore,
We rose at the call of our leaders,
And shouldered our arms once more.

But, alas, our vain hopes of freedom,
‘Twas the same hopes of sorrow oft told
Defeat with the loss of our bravest,
Might over right as of old.

But, thank God, a new day is dawning,
On the future its light is now shown,
When our land shall be free as heaven meant her,
The foreigner’s power overthrown.

Our kindred from over the water,
In thousands shall come at our call,
War cries shall ring o’er the hillsides,
And our banner wave proudly o’er all.

Then peace be with thee, O’Brien,
Thomond’s prince so brave,
And peace to the monks who laid you,
To slumber in the grave.

Brigid Bruen, Kinvara, Co. Galway