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Poems About Ireland

Table of Contents

  1. Ireland by Florence Kellett
  2. Shanid Castle by Gerald Griffin
  3. To the Land of the Harp by Florence Kellett
  4. The Bells of Shandon by Francis Sylvester Mahony
  5. Oh Erin, My Home by Florence Kellett
  6. Kate Kearney by Anonymous
  7. The Blarney by Samuel Lover
  8. My Cabin Home by Florence Kellett
  9. To Kilbarron Castle by Thomas D’Arcy McGee
  10. The Shannon by Sir Aubrey de Vere
  11. Sunset on the Lower Shannon by Sir Aubrey de Vere
  12. I Dreamt and In My Dreams by Florence Kellett
  13. The Lake of Killarney by Hannah Flagg Gould
  14. An Irish Immigrant by Florence Kellett
  15. There's a Grave in the Green Sod by Florence Kellett
  16. The Shannon River by Robert J. Kerr

  1. Ireland

    by Florence Kellett

    Dew washed and sun kissed,
    Out of the blue and the gray mist,
    Vision of beauty and rest,
    Shining afar in the West.
    Gently the clouds float by
    Waking the sleeping sky.
    Bathing the hill and glade
    In light of every shade.

    Green land of hope and endeavor
    Whose people are children forever,
    Held by its sway they glide
    Ever a long life's tide,
    Far from life's crowded way
    Dreaming they live today,
    Free in their own wild home
    Washed by the sea's white foam.

    Island so loved by all,
    Who hear its mystic call,
    Enchantment dwells in every bower,
    In tree and leaf and wayside flower.
    All hail to thee! whose magic spell
    Is felt in woodland dale and dell.
    Oh wondrous land! Oh land of rest!
    A green light shining in the West.

  2. Shanid Castle

    Gerald Griffin. Few landscapes on a calm and sunny evening present a scene of sweet and solemn beauty exceeding that of the little island of Scattery, or Iniscatha, near the mouth of the Shannon, with its lofty round tower and the ruins of its numerous churches, said to have been founded by St. Sinon or Senanus, one of the brightest ornaments of the ancient Irish church.

    On Shannon side the day is closing fair,
    The kern sits musing by his shieling low,
    And marks, beyond the lonely hills of Clare,
    Blue, rimmed with gold, the clouds of sunset glow.
    Hush in that sun the wide-spread waters flow,
    Returning warm the day’s departing smile;
    Along the sunny highland pacing slow
    The keyriaght lingers with his herd the while,
    And bells are tolling faint from far Saint Sinon’s isle.

    O loved shore! with softest memories twined,
    Sweet fall the summer on thy margin fair!
    And peace come whispering, like a morning wind,
    Dear thoughts of love to every bosom there!
    The horrid wreck and driving storm forbear
    Thy smiling strand, nor oft the accents swell
    Along thy hills of grief or heart-wrung care;
    But heaven look down upon each lowly dell,
    And bless thee for the joys I yet remember well!

  3. To the Land of the Harp

    by Florence Kellett

    Though my hair, it is white,
    And my step, it is slow,
    Yet back to the land
    Of my birth I will go.

    Though broken in life
    Like surf on the sea,
    Though tossed by the torrents
    And tempests that be.

    Yet I know I shall stand
    Again on the shore,
    Of the land of the harp
    And the shamrock, once more.

    Back, back to my cabin
    So long I have left,
    That it seems but a ruin
    So lone and bereft.

    Soon, soon what a
    Glorified home it will be;
    What a haven of rest
    For a wanderer like me.

    And though my time now
    Grows shorter each day
    Fain, fain, would I linger
    Fain, fain, would I stay.

    Just to see but a springtime
    And autumn once more,
    Amid the green hills
    Of the land I adore.

    * * *

    Oh, I hear a voice calling
    Far over the sea,
    And I answer, "I am coming,
    Dear Erin, to thee."

  4. The Bells of Shandon

    Francis Sylvester Mahony (Father Prout)

    With deep affection
    And recollection,
    I often think of
    The Shandon bells,
    Whose sounds so wild would
    In days of childhood
    Fling round my cradle
    Their magic spells.
    On this I ponder,
    Where’er I wander,
    And thus grow fonder,
    Sweet Cork, of thee;
    With thy bells of Shandon,
    That sound so grand on
    The pleasant waters
    Of the river Lee.

    I ’ve heard bells chiming
    Full many a clime in,
    Tolling sublime in,
    Cathedral shrine,
    While at a glib rate
    Brass tongues would vibrate;
    But all their music
    Spoke naught like thine;
    For memory, dwelling
    On each proud swelling
    Of thy belfry, knelling
    Its bold notes free,
    Made the bells of Shandon
    Sound far more grand on
    The pleasant waters
    Of the river Lee.

    I ’ve heard bells tolling
    Old Adrian’s Mole in,
    Their thunder rolling
    From the Vatican;
    And cymbals glorious
    Swinging uproarious
    In the gorgeous turrets
    Of Notre Dame:
    But thy sounds were sweeter
    Than the dome of Peter
    Flings o’er the Tiber,
    Pealing solemnly.
    O, the bells of Shandon
    Sound far more grand on
    The pleasant waters
    Of the river Lee!

    There ’s a bell in Moscow;
    While on tower and kiosk O
    In St. Sophia
    The Turkman gets,
    And loud in air
    Calls men to prayer,
    From the tapering summits
    Of tall minarets.
    Such empty phantom
    I freely grant them;
    But there ’s an anthem
    More dear to me,&mdash
    ’T is the bells of Shandon,
    That sound so grand on
    The pleasant waters
    Of the river Lee.

  5. Oh Erin, My Home

    by Florence Kellett

    Oh Erin, my home,
    I am coming to thee,
    Across desert and mountain
    And river and sea.

    To the dear little cabin
    The place I was born
    Mid the wave of the rye
    And the gleam of the corn.

    Near the wild rugged mountain,
    Where the heather grows free,
    And the wild rose unfettered
    Creeps down to the sea.

    Oh land of the gray mist,
    Of sunshine and rain,
    In thy rapturous beauty
    I see thee again.

    Oh, the breath of the bog land,
    And the smell of the peat,
    And the flowers all gleaming
    Like stars at my feet.

    Soon, soon, I'll be with you,
    Then, never to part,
    I shall dream my last dream
    In the land of my heart.

    What a home for a wanderer
    When the storms are past,
    In the green isle of Erin
    There'll be rest at the last.

  6. Kate Kearney


    O, should you e’er meet with Kate Kearney,
    Who lives near the lakes of Killarney,
    Of her dark eyes beware, for love’s witching snare
    Lies hid in the glance of Kate Kearney.
    For those eyes, so seducingly beaming,
    Will kill ere of mischief you ’re dreaming;
    And who dares to view her cheek’s rosy hue
    Must die by the spell of Kate Kearney!

    At eve, should you meet this Kate Kearney,
    On the balm-breathing banks of Killarney,
    Of her smile, O, beware, for fatal ’s the snare
    Concealed in the smile of Kate Kearney.
    Though her hair o’er her snowy neck ’s streaming,
    Her looks with simplicity teeming,
    Beware ere you sip the balm from her lip,
    For fatal ’s the breath of Kate Kearney!

  7. The Blarney

    Samuel Lover. There is a certain coign-stone on the summit of Blarney Castle, in the county of Cork, the kissing of which is said to impart the gift of persuasion. Hence the phrase, applied to those who make a flattering speech, “You ’ve kissed the Blarney Stone.”

    O, did you ne’er hear of “the Blarney”
    That ’s found near the banks of Killarney?
    Believe it from me,
    No girl’s heart is free,
    Once she hears the sweet sound of the Blarney.
    For the Blarney ’s so great a deceiver,
    That a girl thinks you ’re there, though you leave her;
    And never finds out
    All the tricks you ’re about,
    Till she ’s quite gone herself—with your Blarney.

    O, say, would you find this same “Blarney”?
    There ’s a castle, not far from Killarney,
    On the top of its wall
    (But take care you don’t fall)
    There ’s a stone that contains all this Blarney.
    Like a magnet, its influence such is,
    That attraction it gives all it touches;
    If you kiss it, they say,
    >From that blessed day
    You may kiss whom you please with your Blarney.

  8. My Cabin Home

    by Florence Kellett

    I have a little cabin
    That is everything to me—
    Behind it, is a mountain
    Before it, is the sea.

    Around it is the wildness
    Of the Island of the West,
    It is the only home I know,
    The only place of rest.

    As I linger in the doorway
    To see the setting sun,
    My fireside it calls to me
    After the day is done.

    Oh, dear, dear is my cabin
    Beyond all earthly worth,
    I would not, could not, change it now
    For anything on earth.

    And I have traveled far and wide
    O'er many and many a sea
    But nothing now shall ever take
    My cabin home from me.

    God bless the hills of Ireland,
    God bless its heart so true,
    God give me strength and grace to live,
    For many a year with you!

  9. To Kilbarron Castle

    Thomas D’Arcy McGee

    Broad, blue, and deep, the Bay of Donegal
    Spreads north and south and far a-west before
    The beetling cliffs sublime, and shattered wall
    Where the O’Clery’s name is known no more.
    Kilbarron, many castle names are sung
    In deathless verse they less deserved than thee,—
    The Rhine-towers still endure in German tongue;
    Gray Scotland’s keeps in Scottish poesy;
    In chronicles of Spain, and songs of France,
    Full many a grim château and fortress stands;
    And Albion’s genius, strong as Uther’s lance,
    Guards her old mansions mid their altered lands;
    Home of an hundred annalists, round thy hearths, alas!
    The churlish thistles thrive, and the dull graveyard grass.

  10. The Shannon

    Sir Aubrey de Vere

    River of billows, to whose mighty heart
    The tide-wave rushes of the Atlantic sea;
    River of quiet depths, by cultured lea,
    Romantic wood, or city’s crowded mart;
    River of old poetic founts, which start
    From their lone mountain-cradles, wild and free,
    Nursed with the fawns, lulled by the woodlark’s glee,
    And cushat’s hymeneal song apart:
    River of chieftains, whose baronial halls,
    Like veteran warders, watch each wave-worn steep,
    Portumna’s towers, Bunratty’s royal walls,
    Carrick’s stern rock, the Geraldine’s gray keep,—
    River of dark mementos! must I close
    My lips with Limerick’s wrong, with Anghrim’s woes?

  11. Sunset on the Lower Shannon

    Sir Aubrey de Vere

    Stilled are the winds, scarce heard far ocean’s roar;
    And maiden waves creep coyly to the shore,
    Tinged with the purest blush of closing even.
    Behold yon hills that catch the glow of heaven!
    Those shadows purpling o’er the watery scene,
    Now streaked with gold, now tinged with tender green,
    And yon bright path that burns along the deep,
    Ere the sun sinks behind his western steep!
    Soft fades the parting glory through the sky,
    Commingling with the cool aerial dye.
    Light barks, with dusky sails, scarce seen to glide,
    Bend their brown shadows o’er the burnished tide;
    And hark! at intervals the sound of oars
    Comes, faint with distance, to the listening shores,
    Blent with the plaintive cadence of the song
    Of boatmen chanting as they drift along;—
    But see, the radiant orb now sinks apace,
    Gradual and slow he stoops his glorious face;
    And now but half his swelling disk appears,
    And now how quickly gone! he scarcely rears
    One burning point above the mountain’s head,—
    And now the last expiring beam has fled.

  12. I Dreamt and In My Dreams

    by Florence Kellett

    I dreamt, and in my dreams I heard
    Sweet music faint and low,
    It was a song of Ireland,
    A song of long ago.

    I saw once more my dear old home
    With its gables and its towers,
    The dear old fashioned garden
    With all its brilliant flowers.

    Once more I heard the church bells ring
    Through the quiet evening air.
    Once more I sang the vesper hymn,
    Once more I knelt at prayer.

    And then I saw the harvest moon
    Shed forth its lustrous light
    Upon the fields of yellow corn.
    It was a glorious sight.

    Then in the early dawn
    I walked beside the silent stream,
    I saw the blue forget-me-not
    And picked it in my dream.

    I saw the mountains and the hills
    The woodland and the lea,
    And memories of bygone days
    Came rushing over me.

    For Ireland and for freedom
    I felt my pulses glow,
    I saw the patriots of old
    Go forth to meet the foe.

    And when I saw the green flag
    That fluttered in the air,
    I prayed that God would bless it
    And that God would hear my prayer.

    Oh Ireland forever
    Thou art graven on my heart,
    No dream can make thee sweeter
    Or fairer than thou art.

  13. The Lake of Killarney

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    In Erin's verdant, ocean isle,
    A shining lake is seen,
    Where many an islet peers the while
    To stud the lake with green.

    And these are crowned with tree and flower,
    And vine, or ruins gray,
    That show where human art and power
    Have been, and past away.

    They're edged with grass, or fringing brake,
    Or moss, or beetling cliff;
    And, round between them, on the lake
    There dances many a skiff.

    The boatman's hardy hand propels
    His boat with varying oar,
    While stories wild and strange he tells,
    About the things of yore.

    And, if you touch that hand with gold
    Or silver, you shall find,
    A smoother tale was never told,
    Than he will soon unwind.

    But then no sign of secret doubt,
    About what may be said,
    From lip or eye must venture out,
    As this would snap the thread.

    For, though he may in truth believe
    The things he tells to you,
    Or not, 't is fit that you receive
    Each syllable as true.

    In sooth, the honest boatman seems
    A man sincere, and acts
    Like one, who, often telling dreams,
    Refines them into facts.

    He'll take you in his boat and row
    Till fairly from the shore;
    Then fast his nimble tongue will go,
    And slow the lazy oar.

    And there, in haste to let you know
    How much is known to him,
    He'll tell you what is hid below
    The water that you skim.

    For, how Killarney's lake arose,
    His sober lips protest,
    That, if a son of Erin knows,
    Himself must know the best.

    And having paid his holy priest
    For past and future sins,
    And lived a saint through lent and feast,
    The tale he thus begins:

    'You see that in this spacious cave
    There's now a mighty flood;
    But once, as you've a soul to save,
    'T was full of flesh and blood!

    'And now I row my trusty boat
    O'er heaps of human bones,
    That, by the waters where we float,
    Are hardened into stones!

    'For, here an ancient city shone
    In splendor, wealth, and pride;
    And that in power it stood alone,
    Can be by none denied.

    ''T was peopled by a noble clan
    Of brave and warlike men;
    If ever Erin had a man
    Of courage, it was then.

    ''T was governed by a mighty chief,
    The great O'Donaghue;
    And just to give him in the brief,
    A mighty tyrant, too!

    'He was a man of giant size,
    Of odd, but rich attire,
    With haughty bearing, and his eyes,—
    They flashed like living fire.

    'He often led his men to fight,
    And led them safely back;
    But left the foes, that lived in flight,
    With blood upon their track.

    'For when they saw his hordes advance,
    And knew him in the van,
    His very look was like a lance,
    To enter every man.

    'His eye was worth a thousand shafts,
    A thousand arms, his one!
    His will was like the wing that wafts
    The eagle to the sun!

    'And such the great O'Donaghue;
    And such the race of men,
    Whose like, if e'er creation knew,
    'T will never know again!

    'And all that mortals ever need
    This noble clan possessed;
    For they had all to clothe and feed,
    And give the body rest.

    'But, still they lacked one thing, and this,
    The burden of their song,
    Was what no living thing can miss,
    And live to miss it long.

    'And "water! water!" they would sing,
    And some for water call.
    They'd neither well, nor brook, nor spring,
    Within their city wall.

    'At length, without, the streams were dry
    That brightened vale and hill,
    And then, from thirsty mouths, the cry
    Was "water! water!" still.

    'There came a great magician there,
    A man of power and skill,
    Who had the gift to answer prayer,
    And do the suppliant's will.

    'To him in crowds the people came,
    As pilgrims to a shrine:
    Approaching in St. Patrick's name,
    The man of gifts divine.

    'And water, water, was the thing
    For which they humbly bowed,
    Entreating him the boon to bring
    From either earth or cloud.

    'But still he answered not their call;
    For in his searching sight,
    There was not one among them all
    Who asked that boon aright.

  14. An Irish Immigrant

    by Florence Kellett

    I am lonely in the twilight,
    I am lonely in the morn,
    I am thinking of the gray mist
    Of the town where I was born.

    Oh, that little Irish village!
    Oh, the smiles that greeted me!
    Oh, those true hearts fondly beating!
    Happiness it was to see.

    How I long again to meet them
    Just once more before I go
    To that land where I shall meet them,
    I am nearing it, I know.

    How I long to see the mountains,
    And the rivers rushing by,
    And the quiet, peaceful valleys,
    Just once more before I die.

    Oh, the little straw thatched cabin
    In the bend behind the hill,
    Is it ruined and forgotten
    Or can it be standing still?

    Never more again I'll see it,
    Where I spent my childhood days,
    Wandering by the pleasant river
    And the tangled woody ways.

    Oh, the scent of bog and heather
    And the lichen fresh and green,
    Oh, the sense of rest and freedom,
    In the woodland air so keen.

    Old and tired, bent and worn,
    In another land I'll lie
    But I'll still remember Ireland
    Where I wish that I could die.

    * * *

    May its bells of freedom pealing
    Wake me where I lie at rest,
    And its flag once more be floating,
    Flashing green lights in the West.

  15. There's a Grave in the Green Sod

    by Florence Kellett

    I have a message for you
    From a land beyond the sea,
    From the home of the little shamrock,
    The country of the free.

    From the land of your sire
    Where your fathers lie at rest,
    From that green, green little island,
    The Emerald of the West.

    Oh balmy are its breezes
    And gently do they blow,
    And many are the flowers
    That in its woodlands grow.

    No land on earth can ever
    Be fairer in your eyes;
    Think of its glorious sunsets
    And of its morning skies.

    Think of the gray blue mountains
    And of the wandering streams,
    Oh! only shall such beauty
    Return to you in dreams.

    Oh Ireland recalls,
    The sons who left her shore,
    Who went away in sadness
    To come back to her once more.

    Oh children of the green sod,
    Of the Celtic ancient race,
    Remember in your native land
    There is for you a place.

    A place with peace and honor
    She will give you with the best,
    A quiet, peaceful, sheltered place
    Wherein your soul can rest.

  16. The Shannon River

    by Robert J. Kerr

    By the stately Shannon River
    In the Autumn evenfall,
    Waving willows bend and shiver
    To the weary wild-bird's call.

    Limerick's tolling bells deliver
    As of old their tale to all,
    By the stately Shannon River
    In the Autumn evenfall.

    Darkening slow the last rays quiver
    Over cottage, spire, and hall,
    And upon a boy—for ever
    Building dream-lit castles tall.
    By the stately Shannon River
    In the Autumn evenfall.

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