Béal na mBláth

Commander_Michael_Collins

Béal na mBláth

I often wonder how that young Private felt,
when he saw the blood flow from Collins,
to mingle with the dirt in Beal na mBláth,
struck down by a ricochet,
the echoes still reverberating,
ringing through the decades.

At 19 a killer,
hands stained with English and Irish blood,
armoured in the green of Éire,
sworn by oath to the free state,
the pathway to our republic,
Risen rebel soldier,
with hand grenade & Lewis gun,
bayonet & faith.

To watch Micheal dead,
the dark stains spreading out trickling to the ditch,
like civil war cancer which spread from shore to shore,
Did it fall silent?
Did the peal of rifles cease?
Did they lament & weep?
At another mothers son snuffed out amongst the ancient hills of Cork.

What genius did we lose in the moment,
as that cursed round tore his head off at the side,
what cursed luck has Ireland,
that traitors oft chose to stab her in the back,
they felled the most loyal one on the roadside,
The Big Fella lay dead in the mouth of flowers.

Note:
My Grand-Uncle William Barry was the driver of the armoured car providing security for the detail in Beal na mBláth.
Sliabh na mBan, referred to as ‘Slievenamon’ in its earlier, anglicised form, is one of thirteen 1920 pattern Armoured Rolls Royce cars acquired from the British by the fledgeling Irish Free State.
All the males in my paternal line have worn the uniform of the state, for over 100 years a Barry has served beneath the tri-colour with Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Lord of Connaught

Lord of Connaught.

The last Lord of Connaught is still,
silent are the hills,
which once quivered with the ancient sound,
echoing round Belleek Castle & the Moy.

Sold out like many other rebels for a handsome purse,
hunted & chased,
beset by hounds,
mere curs,
the lesser generations of a magnificent line.

The slopes of Nephin Mór rang with the cry of the West,
the secret paths & valleys were know only to the Lord & kin,
cool water pools quenched thirsts & caves offered refuge.

Decades past & those unseen places in the hills,
give respite to hunted ragged men,
flying by columns at night.
The ancient rocks bear witness to fleeting history of man,
as natures princes were erased for sport.

 

Note:

Belleck Castle is a beautiful place to visit.

The image above and the text below are from their website.

http://m.belleekcastle.com/

‘Belleek Castle was built between 1825 and 1831, on the site of a medieval abbey, one of four along the River Moy. Belleek was commissioned by Sir Arthur Francis Knox-Gore. The manor house was designed by the prolific architect John Benjamin Keanes, and the neo-gothic architecture met the taste of the time, when medieval styles became fashionable. The Knox-Gores lived in Belleek until the early 1940’s.’