Where Ballyfinboy Waters Flow
Lyrics: Larry Joy

My purpose in writing this song was to reveal something of the essence of Thomas McDonagh so evident in his own body of poetry, to remind ourselves of his gentle spirit and to bring him back to the childhood haunts round Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary which so permeate his work.

Even though McDonagh is so intrinsically bound up with the planning and staging of the Easter Rising and with the complex political manoeuvrings of that time, which inevitably led to his execution, it is this other aspect of his nature which I am attempting to draw upon and capture here.

In the schoolhouse on Cloughjordan’s main street, which served as McDonagh’s childhood home, and where his mother and father were both teaching can be found letters from Thomas to his mother Mary Louise which speak of his longing to be back again in “the calm of middle country” and wander free once more “behind the wood at home”. 

Even though his body remains in a mass-grave in Dublin’s Arbour Hill, it is in the stomping-grounds of his youth and among his own people that he will be best remembered and celebrated for his many achievements.

Where Ballyfinboy waters flow and Hilton’s oaks their mantle show,
And a rainbow arches old Shinrone, where oft’times you did wander.
On Slievenamon the clouds drift low, o’er Knocknacree their shadows throw,
And on Cloughjordan’s spires below, to guide us and to win us.

No more you’ll hear the loud March blow on Knockshegowna’s ancient groves
 Or the bittern cry out soft and low along the Shannon callows,
No more you’ll see old Ormond’s meads, or the mayfly rise at Cashlauncrean,
Or walk again in boyhood dreams in Merton Hall or Borris.

For boyhood memories drift like snow when home and hearth we do forego,
And walk the road that soldiers know to sacrifice and sorrow,
But your spirit it will e’er roam free on the forest paths of Knocnacree,
And your name it will forever be round Mockler’s Hill and Nenagh.

And when again the pastures fill round Kilruane and Burntwood Hill,
And merry May it echoes still to cattle-cry and drover,

And when we walk in Freedom’s fields and chuch-bells in remembrance peal,
We’ll think of you who would not yield, and your final hour.
!
Where Ballyfinboy waters flow and Hilton’s oak their mantle show,

And a rainbow arches old Shinrone, where oft’times you did wander,
On Slievenamon the clouds drift low, o’er Knocknacree their shadows throw,
And on Cloughjordan’s spires below, to guide us and to win us.
Video Documentation of Concert
Recorded and Produced by Michael Fortune.
Where Ballyfinboy Waters Flow
Lyrics: Larry Joy

My purpose in writing this song was to reveal something of the essence of Thomas McDonagh so evident in his own body of poetry, to remind ourselves of his gentle spirit and to bring him back to the childhood haunts round Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary which so permeate his work.

Even though McDonagh is so intrinsically bound up with the planning and staging of the Easter Rising and with the complex political manoeuvrings of that time, which inevitably led to his execution, it is this other aspect of his nature which I am attempting to draw upon and capture here.

In the schoolhouse on Cloughjordan’s main street, which served as McDonagh’s childhood home, and where his mother and father were both teaching can be found letters from Thomas to his mother Mary Louise which speak of his longing to be back again in “the calm of middle country” and wander free once more “behind the wood at home”. 

Even though his body remains in a mass-grave in Dublin’s Arbour Hill, it is in the stomping-grounds of his youth and among his own people that he will be best remembered and celebrated for his many achievements.

Where Ballyfinboy waters flow and Hilton’s oaks their mantle show,
And a rainbow arches old Shinrone, where oft’times you did wander.
On Slievenamon the clouds drift low, o’er Knocknacree their shadows throw,
And on Cloughjordan’s spires below, to guide us and to win us.

No more you’ll hear the loud March blow on Knockshegowna’s ancient groves
 Or the bittern cry out soft and low along the Shannon callows,
No more you’ll see old Ormond’s meads, or the mayfly rise at Cashlauncrean,
Or walk again in boyhood dreams in Merton Hall or Borris.

For boyhood memories drift like snow when home and hearth we do forego,
And walk the road that soldiers know to sacrifice and sorrow,
But your spirit it will e’er roam free on the forest paths of Knocnacree,
And your name it will forever be round Mockler’s Hill and Nenagh.

And when again the pastures fill round Kilruane and Burntwood Hill,
And merry May it echoes still to cattle-cry and drover,

And when we walk in Freedom’s fields and chuch-bells in remembrance peal,
We’ll think of you who would not yield, and your final hour.
!
Where Ballyfinboy waters flow and Hilton’s oak their mantle show,

And a rainbow arches old Shinrone, where oft’times you did wander,
On Slievenamon the clouds drift low, o’er Knocknacree their shadows throw,
And on Cloughjordan’s spires below, to guide us and to win us.

Larry Joy

Where Ballyfinboy Waters Flow

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