mai venn


Commemoration of 1798


Two hundred year later, at the 98 Commemoration
We all gathered around to celebrate in anticipation,
We dressed up in our peasant rags, brogs, shawls and wigs,
With our musicians and dancers, our reels and our gigs.

Historians pondered, wondered, argued and debated,
While tourists watched on, drank Guinness and patiently waited
Rebel songs, they were sung and Church bells, they were rung,
All ages were represented, from the old to the young.

Poets came, ballad singer too, reciting and singing their poems and songs,
Told of battles and retreats and sung of the rights and the wrongs.
Television cameras, from all over the glove,
Invaded the countryside in their gigantic droves.

Spirits came from out of the past, women, men, insurgents alike,
From the King’s troops with their flintlock muskets,
To our brave men of the pike.
The men and women who had gone to their rest
Raised up from the dead, all dressed in their best.

The mournful Banshee, why she came out of the blue
And met with the rebels who came along too.
As she search for her comb around Vinegar Hill,
She met with a drummer boy they called Little Will.

They strolled down the hill till they came to a stream,
Then they vanished and went, like a mystical dream.
Along came brave Fr. Murphy, with his hand held up high,
His face looked so sad as he gazes into the sky.

Boolavogue was the parish in the days gone by,
But now, priest were feared and he wonder why.
The Battle of Ross, at the Thee Bullet Gate,
There’s a pub there me boy so drink while you wait!

What was it all for, that Battle of ‘98?
For the love of our country and of our faith!
Here comes the ghost of Kelly, that big lad from killane,
We speak with great pride of our fine, Kelly chlann.

John stood tall with his golden locks and fearless heart so true,
He was twenty five years and they well to do.
Hear comes Thomas Clooney of Moneyhore,
Followed by Devereux, Boxwell, the Furlong brothers and more.

Hail me boys, who goes forth?
Why it’s the men from Shemalier, they are here for the sport!
Here, the King’s troops gathered - white breeches and coats of bright red,
With the sound of hooves from their artillery horses, so grand and well bred,

The assembly starts at the sight of these men,
In harmony. The Boys of Wexford’ is sung; again and again.
Then, ‘Who Fears to Speak of ’98?
Followed by a recitation of the ‘Three Bullet Gate’.

Dancers arrived from all over the land,
Accompanied by the finest of Irish, pipe bands.
Fiddlers tuned strings and rosined the bows like never before,
Accordion. Tin whistle, bodhran, drum players and more

Played all together. Such a rear sight, I wish you could see,
As the jubilation reach their heights of majestic glee.
Home came the ghosts of our emigrants from the U.S.A.,
Back to the Emerald Isle, no more to stay.

For this was their Country, so green and so grand,
Wexford was their County, their home and their lands.
As the harbour was filled with coffin ships of the past,
Strongbow arrived and asked. @Am I Paddy last? ’.

‘Not at all! ’, said the voice of the great J.K.L.,
Why no one told me you were coming as well.
Did you know I was a witness to the Battle of Ross in ‘98?
That was long before I became Bishop and preached the faith’.

Like all good thing, they comes to an end,
Both sides of the conflict became spiritual friends.
All the ghosts returned to where they came,
Since then, sure, Wexford was never the same.

Kelly, the boy from Killane, has a strange smile on his face,
His statues are moving from place to place.
Souvenirs from the Commemoration are all over the land,
The children are playing with pikes in their hands.

The tourists still arrive as if they can’t wait
And they ask for directions to the landmarks of the great ’98’.
Yes, the tourists still arrive as if they can’t wait
And they ask for directions to the landmarks of the great ’98’.

Submitted: Monday, July 08, 2013
Edited: Monday, July 08, 2013

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