Roddy McCorley lyrics

Tommy Makem

Oh see the fleet foot host of men
That speed with faces wan
From farmstead and from fishers cot
Along the banks of Bann
They come with vengeance in their eyes
Too late, too late are they
For young Roddy McCorley goes to die
On the bridge of Toome today

Up the narrow street he stepped
Smiling, proud and young
About the hemp rope on his neck
The golden ringlets clung
There was never a tear in his blue eyes
Both sad and bright are they
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die
On the bridge of Toome today

When he last stepped up that street
His shining pike in hand
Behind him marched in grim array
A stalwart, earnest band
For Antrim town, for Antrim town
He led them to the fray
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die
On the bridge of Toome today

There is never one of all your dead
More bravely fell in fray
Than he who marches to his fate
On the bridge of Toome today
True to the last, true to the last
He steps the upward way
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die
On the bridge of Toome today

Song Details

Roddy McCorley
Roddy McCorley at Wikipedia

Writer: Ethna Carbery (1866-1902) - 1890's. She was an Irish journalist , writer and poet.

Brief: Roddy McCorley was one of the thousands of young Irishmen executed by the British for taking part in the 1798 rebellion.

After the rebellion Roddy joined a rebel gang and was arrested whilst in hiding, having been betrayed by an informer. He was tried by court martial and sentenced to be hanged near the Bridge of Toome in the parish of Duneane.

His execution occurred on 28 February 1800 and his body was then dismembered and buried under the gallows, on the main Antrim to Derry road.

References:
Bann: the river Bann - longest river in Northern Ireland. It winds its way from the southeast corner of Northern Ireland to the northwest coast, pausing in the middle to widen into the enormous Lough Neagh.
Toome: a small village and townland on the northwest corner of Lough Neagh in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Antrim: a town and civil parish in County Antrim in the northeast of Northern Ireland, on the banks of the Six Mile Water, on the north shore of Lough Neagh.
pike - a long spear formerly used by infantry

Category: Irish Rebel Song / Patriotic / Death / Execution

Covers: The Dubliners, The Clancy Brothers, The Corrie Folk Trio, The Kingston Trio, Brandon the Wandering Bard.

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