Patrick Joseph McCall

At Boulavogue as the sun was setting
On the bright May meadows of Shelmaliar
A rebel hand set the heather blazing
And brought the neighbours from far and near
Then Father Murphy from old Kilcormack
Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry
“Arm, arm”, he cried, “for I’ve come to lead you
For Irelands freedom we’ll fight or die”

He led us on ‘gainst the coming soldier
The cowardly yeomen we put to flight
‘Twas at the Harra the boys of Wexford
Showed Bookies’ reg’ment how men could fight
Look out for hirelings, King George of England
Search ev’ry country where breathes a slave
For Father Murphy from the county Wexford
Sweeps o’er the land like a mighty wave

At Vinegar Hill o’er the pleasant Slaney
Our heroes vainly stood back to back
And the Yoes at Tullow took Father Murphy
And they burned his body upon the rack
God grant you glory, brave Father Murphy
And open heaven to all your men
For the cause that called you may call tomorrow
In another fight for the green again

The rising of 1798 was really a number of isolated struggles. Only the Wexford rising had any great success, and part of this success was due to the courage of the croppy priest, Father John Murphy. After the final defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill, Father Murphy and other surviving leaders were hanged. The song was written by Patrick Joseph McCall and dates from the second half of the nineteenth century. The tune was known for generations as Youghal Harbor. Boulavogue is the name of a small town in Wexford.