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Príosún Chluain Meala - The Jail of Clonmel

jail cell

This is a song from the time of the agrarian troubles in the second half of the eighteenth century, when the Whiteboys were engaged in intimidating landlords. The Whiteboys were members of small, largely Catholic, peasant bands in Ireland. First organized (c.1759), a secret oath-bound society, which for about seventy years had plagued the authorities with intractable problems in rural Ireland. The Whiteboy disturbances first broke out in Clogheen in Co. Tipperary, in the year 1761, when groups of men assembled by night to level ditches which landlords and graziers had erected around the common land on which, until then, the people had enjoyed free grazing rights. At first they were called Levellers, but soon additional grievances with regard to rent and tithes were added. As the movement spread they began wearing white shirts, and soon became known in the Irish language as Buachailli Bána or Whiteboys. The purpose of the white shirt was so that they could recognise one another in the dark. Later their hostility (1775-85) was largely aimed at tithe collectors. The tithe collectors taxed Protestants of all denominations and Catholics to support the one established (Anglican) "Church of Ireland" even though these Protestants and Catholics were not members.

Údar anaithnid
Ó, bliain 's lá amárach
'sea d'fhágas an baile
ag dul go hArd Pádraig
'cur lásái lem hata:
bhí Buachaillí Bána ann
is rás acu ar eallaigh--
is mé go dubhlach uaigneach
i bpríosún Chluain Meala.

Tá mo shrian is mo dhiallait,
ar iasacht le fada;
mo chamán ar fiaradh
faoi iarthar mo leapa,
mo liathróid á bualadh
ag buachailli an ghleanna--
is go mbuailfinn poc báire
chomh hard leis na fearaibh!

A Chiarraigh bídh ag guí liom,
is bog binn liom bhur nglórtha,
is beag a sileas-sa choiche
ná billfinnse beo oraibh--
's go mbeidh ár dtrí cinn-ne
ar thrí spící mar sheó acu,
faoi shneachta na hoíche
is gach síon eile 'á ngeobhaidh chughainn.

Go hUibh Ráthach má théann tú.
beir scéala go dtí mo mhuintir
go bhfuilim daor ar an bhfód seo
is nach bhfuil beo agam ach go hAoine,
Bailídh gléas tórraimh
agus cónra bhreá im thijpeall--
sin críoch ar ó Dónaill
is go deo deo bídh ag guí leis.

Author Unknown
O, it's one year tomorrow
my home I deserted
and went to Ard Pádraig
my hat done in laces.
The Whiteboys were there
tormenting the cattle ---
now I'm grieving and lonely
in the jail of Clonmel.

My bridle and saddle
are loaned out a long time,
my hurley is slanted
in under my bed,
my ball hit about
by the boys of the valley
--I who'd hit a goal-puck
as high as the next!

Kerrymen, pray for me.
I love your soft voices,
nor thought I would never
return to you living.
But our three heads will soon
be on spikes for a show
in the snows of the night
and all weathers that come.

If you go to Uibh Ráthach
take the news to my people
I'm condemned on this sod
and won't live beyond Friday.
Get the things for my wake
and a fine coffin round me
--here's an end of Ó Dónaill
and pray for him always.

Tuigtear de ghnáth gurb amhrán Príosún Chluain Meala a bhaineann le aimsir na dtrioblóidi talún sa dara leath den 18ú céad nuair a bhína Buachaillí Bána í mbaarr a nirt. Táleaganacha de roinnt de na véarsai, ámh,le fáil i ndán dar dáta c. 1754.

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack IrishPage.com , October 2007
From An Duanaire by Tuama & Kinsella, 1981
Replay background music: Gaol of Clonmel
Photo above of prisoner in Ohio


Filleadh go liosta
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