Early –early last Thursday night
The Myshall cavalry gave me a fright;
In my misfortune and sad downfall
I was prisoner taken by Lord Cornwall,
In his guardhouse there I was tied,
And in his parlour my sentence tried
My sentence passed – and passed very low -
Unto Duncannon I was obliged to go
As I was going up the mountain high
Who would blame me then for to cry?
I looked behind me, then before,
And my tender parents saw, and ne’er saw more
When my poor parents did hear the news
They followed me with money and clothes,
Five hundred guineas they would lay down
To let me walk upon sweet Irish ground
They well guarded me through Borris town,
The bloody Orangemen did me surroun’,
The captain told me he’d set me free
If I would bring him one, two or three;
I’d rather die or be nailed to a tree
Than traitor turn to my country
In Duncannon was my lot to die
And in Duncannon does my body lie;
And every one that does pass by,
Prays, “the Lord have mercy on the Croppy Boy”

The popular 1798 ballad the “Croppy Road has a link with Myshall in that it mentions Robert Cornwall. The reference to 'Duncannon' is probably correct, as Duncannon Fort was where most United prisoners were sent. The plaque on the Croppy Road also has inscribed the last two lines of this ballad:

“All you good people who do pass by
Say a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy”

Another popular ballad of the period is “Kelly the Boy from Killanne” and this also has a connection with the general area around here. John Kelly the “boy from Killanne” was born in Wheelagower, Killanne, Co. Wexford but his father was born in 1737 at Kelly’s Quarter, Kilbrannish and went as a child with his father named William to Wheelagower in the 1760’s from Kilbrannish.

John O’ Neill, Drumphea preserved the words of yet another song connected with 1798. It refers to a Richard Fleming. He is named in the list of those who signed the Oath of Allegiance. Known as little Dick Fleming he mustn’t have remained loyal much longer than while he was signing his name as he “was hanged in Leighlin from the shafts of a car”.

Jack Hogan, Drumphea used to sing the song which went:

“At Ballinree castle we each paid our due
and we numbered our men to one hundred and two;
One hundred and two but we wanted one man,
it was little Dick Fleming God send he don’t hang”

Beside Dowling’s house in Knocklonogad is a field known as Marg Fleming’s field.


In the year 1914 that year of great renown
The Co. Carlow Feis my boys was held in Bagenalstown
Among the many prizes, the flag it sure did appear
To be given to the winning corp of the County Volunteers

The Borris boys they did line up, they also did declare
To bring back the volunteers flag it was that brought them there
There came a corp from Tullow and from Ballon likewise they did appear
There was a corp from Kildavin and the Myshall Volunteers

Fr. Murphy led the Ballon Boys riding on horseback
Their commander cried forward and his reverence his whip did crack
When the Myshall boys did a line up they were followed by a throng
Their leaders were Pat Fenelon, Lar Fitz and Jimmy Long

Jimmy Long cried number 1, Larry Fitz cried eyes right
When these boys they did march out, they were a glorious sight
When these boys they passed the judge He could not stop but grin
He turned to John Governey, those boys they mean to win
With the wooden guns on their shoulders they marched like mountain deer
These were the boys that won the flag the Myshall volunteers

Now to conclude and finish and listen to my song
Whenever you are away from home let it be short or long
When you are old and feeble and bending down in years
You will drink a toast and likewise boast of the Myshall volunteers

The Myshall Volunteers were started in 1914 with 40 – 50 members. There was another volunteer group in Coolasnaughta and also one in Cranemore with 23 members in that one. Laurence Fitzpatrick trained the Myshall lads and worked at Byrne’s of the Bawn. They used wooden guns made by a local carpenter. This song may have been made up by a stranger working at Pat Fenelon’s Shangarry. It was preserved by the late Tommy Dobbs who actually remembered seeing the green and gold flag of the Volunteers. The Fr. Murphy mentioned was C.C. in Ballon at the time and was related to the Murphys of Ballinvalley. Jimmy Long and Lar Fitz both went to the established army and fought in the war. At the start of World War 1 the Volunteers divided, some went to join the army while others remained to become Irish Volunteers in 1916. The John Governey mentioned was from Carlow and he was head of the Volunteers in Carlow and was obviously the judge on the day that the Myshall Volunteers won the parade. It is said that the celebrations went on for a week in the village afterwards.



Miley Carroll along with James O’ Toole (about whom there is also a ballad) was shot dead by Government Forces at Shean Myshall in 1922 during the Civil War.

I will sing of a youth who in battle has fallen
He fought for Green Erin, the land that he loved
Although you may call him a die-hard and rebel
We pray that his soul it may now rest above
Gloom filled the valley all ‘round his old homestead
That stands in Killedmond this many a year
The home that young Miley surrendered so freely
That he might go fighting for freedom so dear
He fought in the fight that the rebels were raging
With the guns that the ‘Tans used against us before
He fought in the fight that the rebels were raging
So he might place his fate in the Nation once more
But soldiers with rifles, with Lewis guns and Thomsons
In search of young Carroll, from all sides they came
When they captured his body, it was lifeless and bleeding
The lone bogs of Sheen his young blood did stain
Slow came the sound of his funeral carriage
Bearing young Carroll a rebel so bold
And sad was the sight as we carried his coffin
Wrapped up with a flag, called the green, white and gold
No priest gave his blessing, no church bells were ringing
No prayers of the Faithful were shed o’er his grave
But the tears of his mother, his sisters and brother
Fell down on the green sod we placed on his breast
So sleep, Miley, sleep, until freedom is with you
Your grave in Rathanna we shall honour some day
For your faithful old comrades shall never forget you
So sleep Miley, sleep is the prayer that we pray

Shean Monument

On December 2nd 2001 a group of several hundred people packed a small stretch of narrow country road in Shean for a 45 minute ceremony to honour two patriots from the Civil War period of Irish history. A granite memorial stone – the workmanship of stonemason P.J. Abbey Myshall was unveiled at the roadside at Shean to honour Myles Carroll from Killedmond, Borris and Seamus O’ Toole who hailed from Rathdangan, Co. Wicklow. The memorial is adjacent to the field where Myley Carroll and Seamus O’ Toole were tragically shot dead during the Civil War on Dec. 5th 1922. When these men died it was lamentable that Myley Carroll was given little recognition. His remains were not allowed into the Church with the priest who was being pilloried on all sides pro and anti saying the prayers at the grave in Rathanna wearing a dark suit and not the usual white vestments. This was in stark contrast to the reception given to the remains of Seamus O’Toole who had the burial of a hero in his family grave at Cranerin Rathdangan.

Previous to the tragic day of December 5th 1922 the two men had been “on the run” - a term used during the 1916-1922 period as they dodged the British Army including the hated Black and Tans and later their own countrymen when brother had been turned against brother as the politicians of the Crown were wont to do. In this instance there were three other comrades namely Ned Kane from the Castledermot area of Co. Kildare, Hugh O’Rourke of Tinahely and Chas Byrne of the Myshall area. Two of these men were captured with Kane making good his escape. They had stayed the previous night in the Shean area and were warned of a raiding party approaching whereupon they left the home of the Nolans where they had been given refuge. When crossing the fields in Straduff the two patriots were killed by rifle fire. On the night of December 3rd they had stayed in Ballon Co. Carlow having visited Nan Nolan of Laragh who was a well known ardent Nationalist and a member of Cumann na mBan, the women’s organisation who played a valiant part during those troubled years in Irish history. She arranged for them to stay at a neighbouring farmer’s house which was regarded as a safe haven. Not only that but this woman bought from a local shop an overcoat for Myley Carroll whose clothes were in tatters with little or no warmth considering it was the month of December.

Ronnie Plant, Bealalaw, Myshall, delivered the oration reminding all present that both men had already been honoured in the past with a fine hall in Rathdangan to the memory of Seamus O’Toole and a Ballad in memory of Myley Carroll. According to Ronnie Myles Carroll had been a very active and fit young man, slight of stature but noted for his immense physical fitness and strength. He had a care-free manner, always in buoyant mood and was good company at any time. He loved singing and dancing. In fact the night before he died he sang several songs at Nolan’s family home just down the road from the memorial. Ronnie described Seamus O’Toole as a farmer’s son who was well known for the whole-heartedness and sincerity he brought to everything he did. A fine specimen of physical development he was a splendid Gaelic footballer with fair play and honest endeavour always associated with his name. He was hugely respected by opponents and teammates alike – all of which is recorded in print from those far off days. Finally Ronnie said that it is fitting that at this spot so close to where Myles Carroll and Seamus O’Toole were shot that one could say almost the final episode has been enacted.

The unveiling was carried out by Noel Carroll and Jimmy O’ Toole relatives of the patriots while wreaths were laid by Paddy Ryan from the National Graves Association, Michael O’Toole and Dan Carroll. Mrs. Anne (Bab) Moore who remembered the night the men stayed at her home was one of the many local people who were present at the unveiling. After the ceremonial aspect was completed a group of about 30 people consisting of members of the Carroll and O’Toole families formed a circle and prayers were led by Mrs. Annie O’Toole sister in law of Seamus O’Toole at the exact spot where the two men were mortally wounded. It is remarkable that a yew tree planted at the spot at the time of the shootings has remained stunted down the 80 years that have elapsed since then.


(excerpts only)

Come all ye roaming gentlemen
I will sing for you a bar
Concerning a dance and a card party
At O’Gorman’s of Aclare
The catering was excellent
The ladies all O.K.
You’d think they came from a Zulu land
Or the Philippines far away
There was gingerbread and shaky mick
Like-wise some lemonade
There were biscuits grand, currant brack
Blancmange and marmalade
There was Bakers Bread and home-made scones
Sure you could eat your fill
And the waitress was Pat Kavanagh’s wife
She was a McKane from Ballon Hill
‘tis for Pat Kehoe my boys
The truth I will declare
He could judge a mountain hogget
Against Long Coleman from Kildare
Young Kavangh and he they did agree
To not stop there at all
They went down to Paddy Byrnes
To hear Morgue Fortune’s Ball
Jimmy Murphy looked troubled
He didn’t dance at all
He talked to Jack Kavanagh
About the prices being so small
My pen being still in action
There is one thing I must jot down
It is about a crowd of boys
Who came from Myshall town
They ate and drank and danced and sang
And seemed merrily and gay
But when Mickey called the Card School
None of them did play
Whenever you are in search of fun
You can come from near and far
And I guarantee you a jolly good spree
At O’ Gorman’s of Aclare

The above song was written about a party held in Gorman’s Loft, Aclare. This building is the private home of the Dwyer family. If the stones of that old loft could talk they would surely have a tale to tell of all the wonderful parties, dances and socials that were held there over the years. Aclare Macra Na Feirme, reputedly the first Macra Na Feirme Club in the Country had its headquarters there in the 1940’s. The above song was preserved by Thomas Dobbs, Aclare and the following verse refers to the same establishment, there are further verses and if anyone knows them we would appreciate getting the words to preserve them for posterity.

‘Twas a cold stormy night and the wind it did blow
I turned Jimmy Nail's corner and up Beggars row
I went up by the Church in my auld Austin car
Enquiring the way for Black Mick’s of Aclare
I arrived at Black Mick’s at a quarter to nine
And who should I meet but the famous Tom Brien
The foremost discussion that night in Aclare
Was how we would start Deacons auld 2nd hand car.



Now here is a verse that I made up at home
It’s about the Carlow Champions who are called Naomh Eoin
For they have made history, as all people know
They are the Seventy Six Champions with three in a row
Now about these Champions no one can complain
For they mastered the ball in spite of the rain
James Eustace the goalie, who was guarding the net
Sure he cleared every ball and at all times was set
John Foley the fullback at all times was there
As he mastered the ball on the ground and in the air
The corner full backs that day did no wrong
With Willie Eustace on the left and John Foley’s brother Tom
Peter Nolan and Sean Quirke kept the forward quite tame
While John O’ Hara was starring all through the game
Now at centre field play Naomh Eoin they did shine
With the Gallant Paddy Quirke and the brave Jimmy Doyle
Pat Nolan the captain was on the half line
With Mick Nolan his partner, oh how they did shine
In the centre Eamon Quirke who that day did star
As he sent twelve points sailing straight over the bar
John Butler on the corner sure he wasn’t slow
With Ted at full forward and the brave Sean Keogh
Now with all of these players I’ve no wish to say wrong
For its all in the making of an old song
Now all of you hurlers in the County Carlow
You better start training and don’t you be slow
For as sure as there’s a God above in his heaven
Naomh Eoin will be champions in the year Seventy Seven
Now all of you sportsmen I’m sure you’ll agree
Naomh Eoin are the champions and entitled to be
And now I will finish for you have heard it and seen
That the Champion of Champions are the Naomh Eoin Fifteen.


The above song was one of a number written about Naomh Eoin given by Tom Doyle, Ballinree now living in Ballinkillen.

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