Nation 12th March, 1859 p.13
We find the following under the year 1360, in the ‘Annals of the Four Masters’: Brien O’Brien of Thomond gave a very great overthrow to the English of Munster, and took Gerald, Earl of Desmond, and many of the English nobles, prisoners. This battle(?) was so decisive that the clans of Thomond burned Limerick, and Sioda Cam McNamara was appointed governor of it.
The voice of the war-trump rings loud on the gale,
The clansmen are rushing from mountain and glen,
And proud beats each heart, ‘neath its buckler and amil,
At the slogan that summons to conflict again.
From the sheelings of Thomond (1) the kern come fast,
From Cahir of banquets (2) – Kinvarra of storms,
They’re strong as the red-deer (3), more fleet than the blast,
Youth’s fire in their veins, and youth’s grace in their forms.
Beware, valiant Desmond! – Your Normans look pale,
Tho’ boasting their carriage, tho’ haughty their mein,
Like the light’nings red flash is the shock of the Gael,
Their axes are heavy – their sabres are keen.
They have met, they have fought – and yon red battle field
Tells the Norman invader was humbled that day,
‘Neath the spears of Dalcassia (4), the gauntlet, and shield
Of their country in many a foray and fray.
(1) Thomond, or North Munster, at one time included Clare, Limerick and Tipperary, but latterly it came to designate Clare, especially, in which sense it is used here.
(2) Cahir is a fine old ruin on the banks of the Shannon, near Killaloe. It belonged to the McNamaras – one of whose castles I have seen iin an old poem called ‘Of the Rich Banquets.’
(3) The Irish red deer, now extinct, were famous for their strength and fleetness.
(4) Dalcassia, now Clare, was also called Swordland, having been a border territory in Munster, and retained at the point of the sword from the Kings of Connaught.