Mountjoy[G] jail one morning, high above the gallows [D]tree
Kevin Barry gave his[C] young[D] life for the[D7] cause of libe[G]rty
Just[G] a lad of eighteen summers yet there's no one can de[D]ny
As he marched to death that[C] mor[D]ning, he proudly [D7]held his head on[G] high
Just before he faced the hangman in his dreary prison cell
British soldiers tortured Barry because he would not tell.
The names of his brave comrades and other things they wished to know
"Turn informer and we'll kill you". Kevin Barry answered "no".
Calmly standing to attention while he bade his last farewell
To his broken-hearted mother whose sad grief no-one can tell
For the cause he proudly cherished, this sad parting had to be
Then to death he walked softly smiling that old Ireland might be free
Another martyr for old Ireland, another murder for the crown,
Whose brutal laws may kill the Irish, but can't keep their spirits down
Lads like Barry are no cowards, for the cause they will not lie
Lads like Barry will free Ireland, for her sake we'll live and die.
Kevin Barry Written by Padraig Widger
The gallows grim a group of people kneeling, The prison grey against a sullen sky,
To Our Lady of the Sorrows they
are pleading As a youth of tender years walks out to die.
See, here he comes with footstep slow and steady. With upward gaze and lips that move in prayer, To sacrifice his young
life he is ready,
God comfort his poor weeping mother there.
Those memories of the past seem left behind us; What sorrow yet shall be our destiny;
The little wayside crosses still
remind us, How brave men died to set their country free.
Such were my thoughts as shades of night surround me, Living again the past as sad tears flow,
Saying a fervent prayer
'ere morning found me, For the lad who died for Ireland long ago.
Kevin Barry By COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ
We knelt at Mass with sobbing heart
Cold in the dawn of day.
The dawn for us, for him the night,
Who was so
young and gay.
Then from the Altar spoke the priest.
His voice rang thin with pain —
Bidding us pray, a boy must die
At England's hands again.
The cruel English tortured him,
He never shrank or cried;
Sublime his faith, the gallows tree
He faced that
day with pride.
Proudly he gave his life for her,
To whom his heart was given;
His dying eyes knew Freedom near,
Saw Death the Gate of Heaven.
Bright flaming dawn of a young life,
Simple and pure and brave;
One childlike prayerful sacrifice,
His end -- a felon's grave.
His end! No end to lives like his;
With us he lives alway.
Bright through our night, a shining star,
for us the way.
And Christ, who died for love of us,
Tortured and bruised and shamed,
Gives courage to such hero souls,
Unbending and untamed.
BALLAD trad 1965
I've a sad but true story to relate
Of a brave young Irishman's cruel fate.
is written down in the roll of fame
And Kevin Barry is the brave lad's.name.
When scarcely eighteen years of age .
To the Republican Army he was engaged
For Ireland's sake he struck a
To free his country from a tyrant foe.
In the fight with the foe against the crown
Young Barry shot a British soldier down,
He appeared and
was tried by military
And sentenced to die on the gallows tree.
In the condemned cell awaiting his fate
He was asked to confess before it was too late:
Come tell us where
your comrades may be
A pardon will be granted and we'll set you free.
Young Barry gazed with a look of scorn
Outside the jail his comrades fell
on their knees in prayer to the, prison bell
for the soul of a martyr
friend Who would
rather die than to foemen bend.
Out from the, jail then walked a priest
And the tears rolled down his manly cheeks;
Have they hanged him, Father?
his comrades cried.
He's gone, hut a braver lad never died.
BITTER THE DEATH (Air: 'Emir's Farewell')
Written by Rev. D.A.Casey
Btitter the death they gave you soldier lad,
You of the boyish heart
and fair blue eyes;
I fanged like a dog! God mercy, it would be sad
Did we not know you lived beyond the skies.
nigh the Throne of Christ Who died to save,
There shall you plead for the land that claimed your love; ',
sleep in your lowly prison grave,
Many shall plead with you in the realms above.
\1ary, beloved Queen of this land of Faith;
Patrick, who taught
the truths for which you died;
Colm, who went into exile worse than death
Every Saint of Eirinn stands by your side.
through the Courts of Heaven what an array
Muster to second your pleading, Kevin lad;
heroes of old and martyrs of
How do you wonder, boy, that our hearts are glad.
THE GRAVE OF THE REBEL -Thomas Furlong 1920
Mark the plain grave! 'tis hallowed by a name
power hath idly sought to link with shame.
Reckless of shame — unaw'd by selfish fear,
Boldly I bless the glorious
clay that's here,
Sure that the pure and good shall sympathise
With him who mourns where martyred virtue lies.
Is it the nickname bandied round the land,
The felon's death dealt by the ruffian's hand -
Is it the cry
of `treason' still renewed —
The bugbear of the brainless multitude?
Is it the doom decreed by tyrant laws,
That damns the patriot and defiles his cause?
Nay! slaves, to craft and cruelty allied,
Taking their own base
feelings for a guide,
To the frail frame their torture may apply.
Or spread, when life hath passed, the blasting lie;
the character this altereth not;
Be praise or blame — be weal or woe his lot.
Truth in her hour asserts her
And virtue stands in every change the same.
Let not the hangman's hand, the headman's below.
Sink him whose dust is gathered now below;
horrors of unworthy
mar all the moral beauty of his life:
let pitying zeal his name from censure save,
and truth be heard in
whisper, o'er his grave.
what were his crimes? Come let his torturers tell;
the first he loved his native land too
the next the darkest, blackest, let us see
he longed, he hoped — he tried to make her free.
THE PASSING OF KEVIN
The night is near at hand; in grim Mountjoy
The morrow's victim chats with
His Mother's wistful eyes are on her boy;
He bends to press fond kisses on her face
Then suddenly he holds her to his heart
With strange, fierce tenderness of boyish love:
The time is up, his
dear ones must depart;
Again they'll meet in God's fair Home above.
Through tears they see him `at attention' stand
Kevin salutes them with his strong white hand;
The scene is
ever in their hearts enshrined.
He decks the Altar for the morning Mass
Like some bright, splendid Martyr boy of old;
Now Heaven seems near, and as the moments pass
ascend with faith and love untold.
`The Lord of Hosts is coming as my Guest,
Two Masses I would have,' is his fond plea,
`That in my heart He may find pleasing rest,
And this, my last
thanksgiving, best may be.'
I love to think the Angels vigil keep
And wake him up to greet All Hallows' feast,
At morn, refreshed by youth's untroubled sleen,
With Rosary in
hand he greets the Priest
0 Saviour Crucified, true Light of Light,
We offer up his sacrifice with Thine.
Adoring Angels see a wondrous sight,
The human Victim fed by the Divine
'neath murky skies, the kneeling crowds
Send up their Ayes to the Virgin sweet;
A brilliant ray of sunlight parts the clouds
When Kevin's soul flies
to the Mercy Seat.
Anon. This poem was found in manuscript form among the papers in the possession of Triona Maher. These papers were owned
by her mother, Shela Barry, and her grandmother, Mrs. Mary Barry. The poem has not been published before, nor is its author
known. It clearly was writtrn soon after Kevin's execution.
From The Book ''Kevin Barry And His Time By Donal O'Donovan
KEVIN THE ACOLYTE By Martin O'Brien. 1937
Haste, Father, haste, November's dawn is breaking;
acolyte is kneeling at his post.
`In the Name of the Father', the Sagart's voice is shaking:
But the acolyte, how firm
his `Holy Ghost'.
No worshippers in aisle or nave or chancel,
This edifice is but a felon's cell:
The `felon' now
as acolyte is serving —
The Elevation chimes sound like his knell.
Haste, Father, haste, November's dawn is breaking,
An Empire's thirst lost time can now allow;
— a martyr in the making -
Is kneeling to receive his Master now.
Bend down to where he kneels with face uplifted,
Pale composure in the candle's flickering glow,
That face which God from millions more has sifted,
haste, it's almost time to go.
Haste, Father, haste, November's dawn has broken,
Lead forth your acolyte to meet his fate.
A prayer. . .
Amen. . . the final words are spoken,
And a victim of a frenzied Empire's hate
Embraces death — that Empire's
might defying In prison dark, unsteeled by battle's hum.
A soldier brave your acolyte is dying:
Kneel, Father, kneel,
a martyr's hour has come.
KEVIN BARRY DESMOND CREAN 1922
Couriers from each hill and glen
Spread the dread news far and
A comrade dies at break of day
Speed it o'er the countryside
Count your beads in every home
In cloisters let the Mass be said
A valiant soldier of the Gael
be numbered with the dead.
Dip the nation's flag for him
Who dies to right our country's wrong
Trumpeters on every hill
last post at the dawn
Army of the rank and file
Marshal for the bugle calls
Trumpeters in every glen
Sound the last post as
Trumpeters of hill and glen
Sound the call for he has died
Light the candles for the dead
Let his wake
Heroic youth of tender years
To ambuscade the foe's patrol
Oh! Let his name be e'er revered
Pen it on the
A BALLAD OF KEVIN BARRY - Kathleen Goodfellow
At the time when trees of Autumn
Call to wind and
Soldiers noosed the lad and caught him
To a tree before Mountjoy. Calvary and Kilmashogue,
watch the mercenary Hang the hero for a rogue
Knot the rope for Kevin Barry.
Saints were dancing on All Hallows,
Apples patched on the streets, and nuts,
Soldiers rigged a prison gallows
the devil's wiry guts.
Rainbows flowered the cobblestones
For the roads were wet and tarry,
When they jerked the
flesh and bones
From the soul of Kevin Barry.
Samhain fog and beauty — muddy
Pavements — hills as fair as God,
Autumn like a queen all bloody,
the streets of Dublin trod,
Deirdre-like, a wounded rose,
Here where all her sorrows tarry
Through the shadows
that she knows
Autumn keened for Kevin Barry.
Fish on stalls before the Castle Stank and silvered in the rain,
Oranges had lost Hy-Brasil
For the kerb of
Carts of hay and carts of straw
Squandered gold they could not carry
On the day the English law
the fire from Kevin Barry.
Sailors dark with grape stained weather
Spat out sunlight on the quays,
Old books stirred their skins of leather
of sunburnt centuries.
Down the river Manannan
Drove his white-maned steeds to harry
Lissom ships, towards a Dawn Lit to honour Kevin Barry.
Round the miry Pillar streeling
Boys as lithe as Plato's Greeks
Laughed and cursed at women wheeling
and ivory leeks.
Sparrows jeered the tolling clocks
Pigeons flushed and cinerary
Smouldered on the salty rocks
they haltered Kevin Barry.
From the Three Rock to the scaffold
Mountain winds came singing down,
Gay to see how youth had baffled
in an Irish town,
Gay to see old Satan's thrust
Fended with a scornful parry
`Dust returns unto star-dust'
the winds round Kevin Barry.
Red leaves scattered by the breezes
Blew along grey streets and pale,
You'd have said the feet of Jesus
walked round about the gaol.
And a shining host of youth
Made the city wild and starry
With their eyes of love and
Comrades these of Kevin Barry.
Sea-gulls, rapiers of light, winged
Gleaming to the gallows place,
Death came soaring like the white-winged
Sea-gulls sprayed the gallows tree
From the Liffey's estuary
Crying of the courteous sea
young lad, Kevin Barry.
Dublin Hills and Dublin City
He'd had eighteen years to tread
High disdain has youth for pity
at the gallows' head.
Swinging fairly as a flower
Hung on shrine or sanctuary
Youth is gay in Passion's hour
will weep for Kevin Barry?
|Moments After Keven Barry Was Captured
THE PRISON GRAVE OF KEVIN BARRY 1920
You are dead to-day, and the cold, cold clay of a prison graveyard
On your body still, though, your spirit still lives in the Land beyond the skies.
With the martyred dead, who
for Ireland bled, and who perished at the tyrant's hand,
And inscribed their name on the roll of fame, of Ireland's patriot
Oh dear brave Kevin Barry! May your spirit guide us through
The path you tread of the martyred dead, that
we shall follow too.
When the savage horde, with fire and sword, sought to crush Dark Itosaleen,
And her grand old flag,
in the mire to drag, the Orange, White and Green
You joined the fight, for your Motherland and Right, in the legion of your comrades brave,
To strike a blow at the
mighty foe, your own dear land to save.
The prison cell or the sad death knell no horrors hold for you;
Nor the cruel blows of ruthless foes could
your young soul -subdue.
You preferred to die, on the gibbet of Mountjoy and to vindicate the..
you'd bow your head in fear and dread of the tyrant alien laws.
You are dead to-day and your sacred clay in a prison graveyard sleeps,
While out beyond those grim, grey
walls, an anguished people weeps,
And kneels to pray that the Great God may a million more imbue
With that courage
pure that can endure, that we shall follow too.
Words and music- by Richard Clarke; music by John Stanley.
IN MEMORIAM — KEVIN BARRY -M. Barry O'Delany 1920
The strangled boy lies on a prison
who asked for prayer but not for pity's tear;
tortured - reviled! Yet victor to the death.
his spirit lives
, spite the poor stifled breath;
And all he endured is recorded there
Much is promised to even one brief prayer.
Profane their haste who decreed that this day
Should see his life in anguish ebb away!
Virgins and Martyrs!
in your now happy throng
Whose voices raise in never-ending song!
Welcome the dead who walked the path you trod
brave young heart stilled on your festal day!
Receive him now who first showed him the way
The thorn strewn way that
leads direct to God!
STANDING TO ATTENTION
`There was a most touching and dramatic incident in the prison cell on Sunday,
when, between 4 and 5 o'clock, the prisoner's mother and sister saw him for the last time.
He was quite calm and composed.
He put on his trench coat with belt, as the nearest semblance to a soldier's uniform in his possession, and when his relatives
had bid him good-bye, he stood to attention and gave his mother a military salute.
As she passed, with her daughter, down
the corridor and looked back, the last thing she saw was the prisoner standing to attention'.
He was `standing to attention'
when she left him there behind her,
In the shadow of the dreary prison cell.
There he stood so calm and gravely,
And he looked at her so bravely,
a child looks at its mother when he knows that all is well;
And she thought in silent anguish of the baby boy she cherished,
the tiny little nothings mothers never can forget -
The words of childish wonder,
The turns of boyish anger,
to her he's never grown up — he's but a baby yet.
He was `standing to attention' when she left him there behind her,
With the dying streaks of sunlight crawling
thro' the stifled air,
Shining — ah, so sad and lonely,
For the last — and last time only,
On the splendid
boyish figure that was standing sentry there,
He is gone! and still she sees him, as she ever more will see him,
he still `stands at attention' where the tyrant dare not come,
And he'll smile again as bravely
And salute his mothrr
As he takes her to his Master in the everlasting home
LINES ON THE MEMORY OF KEVIN BARRY Written in Mountjoy Gaol, 1 November, 1922
years ago to-day since you are dead,
And men are moved to weep, the while they praise
The glory of your going. Pass
They do not feel the splendour of your deed —
A boy of eighteen summers facing death
For love of country, freedom, honour, truth.
They cannot understand
this grand ideal,
This godlike sacrifice of youth — they soon forget.
The terror ends then tears are quickly dried
A Land of Promise floats before their sight.
What if a youth has died for noble things —
Perish the thoughts
that lead but to the skies.
The earth to creep upon for slaves is good,
The poisoned fruit is tempting to the touch;
It will not harm them forsooth, they eat,
They shrivel up — not you, but they, are dead.
Did you e'er think
to see the King restored,
The `old gang' reintrenched as masters here,
The Empire saved; the wound upon her side,
running ulcer, healed; the Republic underfoot;
And in its stead a state partitioned, nominally free,
A prisoner caged
within the Empire's net;
The Free State Irish, tightly bound by Oath
To `British Brothers' sharing Britain's debt?
You did not die for this, you well were spared
The cruel disappointment and deceit of men,
Who rising, on your
suffering and your death,
Seemed glad they had a country fit to sell.
No! when you faced the hangman, heartless, cold,
And felt the cruel cord around your neck,
You did not wince, but proudly meeting death -
A man encouraged, though
a boy in years -
You proudly went, that all of us might live
As freely as the birds, bond slaves to none,
to all, sole masters of our fate.
Be at peace.
If others have forgotten, we have not,
And, while we hold the memory
of your deed,
Your Day returning shall not bring us shame
Until in Freedom we may speak your name.
Kevin Barry By Leo Maguire-Hanged in Mountjoy Jail, 1 November, 1920
God bless you, lad with the
hurley and you, with the ball,
Skipping along to the field on this clear, cold day;
With your quick, straight limbs
answering the young blood's call;
But, listen a minute, and then be on your way.
There once was a boy — oh, not
much older than you:
Merry and light on his feet and straight as a staff —
Honest and kind, to God and his country
With a ready smile, like you, and a ringing laugh.
It's a good while now — long before you were born -
Ask your fathers, they'll tell you the times were bad.
Poor Ireland's way was set with pitfall and thorn,
And her cry of anguish was heard by a little lad,
that's all Kevin Barry was; he was just eighteen -
Ah! You've heard the name before — so well you might.
Barry's name will live while the grass grows green:
He fought and lost and was captured in the fight.
And the snug, sleek men said wisely 'What a shame `
That a misled boy who knows neither right nor wrong
have to die: But only himself's to blame,
`And hang he must, to show we are stern and strong;'
And die he did
but, in dying the victory was won:
For any fool can fight, but only the good can die
With a smile and a prayer on their
lips, like this widow's son,
Young Kevin Barry. May his soul be with God on high.
No: Don't look sad, boy: Come, it's pride you should feel!
Go and enjoy your game, but think as you play,
one who was young and strong and true as steel
Gave everything, even life, that you might be happy to-day.