Kelly of Killane

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Melody -
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P.J. McCall, 1861-1919

What's the news, what's the news, oh my bold Shelmalier,
With your long barrelled gun of the sea?
Say what wind from the south blows his messenger here
With a hymn of the dawn for the free?
Goodly news, goodly news, do I bring, youth of forth
Goodly news shall you hear, Bargy man!
For the boys march at morn from the South to the North,
Led by Kelly, the boy from Killane.

2. Tell me who is that giant with gold curling hair
He who rides at the head of your band?
Seven feet is his height, with some inches to spare,
And he looks like a king in command!
Ah my lads that's the pride of the bold Shelmaliers
'Mong our greatest of heroes, a man!
Fling your beavers aloft and give three ringing cheers
For John Kelly, the boy from Killane!

3. Enniscorthy's in flames, and old Wexford is won,
And the Barrow tomorrow we cross,
On a hill o'er the town we have planted a gun
That will batter the gateway of Ross!
All the Forth men and Bargy men march o'er the heath
With brave Harvey to lead on the van
But the foremost of all in the grim Gap of Death
Will be Kelly, the boy from Killane!

4. But the gold sun of freedom grew darkened at Ross
And it set by the Slaney's red waves
And poor Wexford stript naked, hung high on a cross
And her heart pierce by traitors and slaves
Glory O! Glory O! to her brave sons who died
For the cause of long down-trodden man!
Glory O! to Mount Leinster's own darling and pride
Dauntless Kelly, the boy from Killane.


John Kelly of Killanne, County Wexford was detailed by the Commander-in-Chief, Bagenal Harvey, to bring in all the available men from the Barony of Bantry for the attack planned on New Ross. He was seriously wounded in Michael Street, New Ross, following the successful attack on Three Bullet Gate. He was recovering in Wexford Town when it was recaptured by the British.

A Yeoman sergeant who was a neighbour and whose life he had saved some days before, gave evidence against him. He was hanged on Wexford Bridge, his trunk conveyed to the waters and his head trailed and kicked along the streets before being spiked. Friends recovered the head and brought it to Killanne for burial and a monument was later erected on the spot.

The farmers of east Shelmalier were accustomed to shoot wild fowl on the North sloblands. Their "long barrelled guns" proved to be very effective weapons during the Rising.

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