The Battle of Carlow
Author: Bill Nolan, Ballon

Dublin Core


The Battle of Carlow
Author: Bill Nolan, Ballon


Bill looks back at the dreadful massacre in Carlow town on that fateful morning in 1798 and recognises the result of the sacrifices.


‘Tis the dewy hour of sunrise
In the glorious month of May
And the heated mist presages
Summer’s splendour thro’ the day.
Muffled, stealthy in the silence
Sounds the noise of tramping feet:
Men whose sons are free come marching
Up the narrow, gloomy street.

Do they think “What’s now the issue
Of this long-awaited day?”
Oh, the agonised emotions
Of that hour before the tea.
“Do the red-coats know we’re coming?
Are the yeomen still asleep?
All depends upon our silence
And the vigilance they keep”.

But the traitor is before them
And the swords already drawn,
And the peals of musket-thunder
Echo thro’ the reddening dawn.
Vain their rally soon ‘tis over;
In their hundreds, brave they die,
And the cabins where they shelter
Soon in blazing ruins lie.

Talk not of their dismal failure,
Mock not at their courage vain,
For today we reap the harvest
Which they sowed that here were slain.
Tales of causes lost blaze brightest
When the battle’s bravely fought;
Freedom’s jewel’s more precious
When with blood ‘tis dearly bought.



“The Battle of Carlow Author: Bill Nolan, Ballon,” From Carlow Streams, accessed July 16, 2024,