The Papist and The Prod – chilled to the bone

The Papist & The Prod — Author Unknown

I was born & reared on Sandy Row, a loyal Orange Prod;
I stood for good King William, that noble man of God!
My motto-No Surrender! My flag-The Union Jack!
And every Twelfth I proudly march to Finaghy-and back.

A loyal son of Ulster, a true blue, that was me,
Prepared to fight, prepared to die for faith & liberty.
As well as that, a Linfield man as long as I could mind…
And I had no time for Catholics, or any of that kind.

And then one night in Bangor I met wee Rosie Green.
The minute I laid eyes on here I knew she was my queen,
And when I saw she fancied me, my mind was all a-buzz
And I clean forgot to ask her what her religion was.

Next time we met I told her, “I’m a Proddie, staunch & true!”
And she said, “I’m a Catholic, and just as staunch as you”.
The words were harsh & bitter, but suddenly like this…
The centuries of hatred were forgotten with a kiss.

I knew our love would bring us only trouble & distress.
But nothing in this world would make me love wee Rosie less.
I saved a bit of money, as quickly as I could,
And asked her if she’d marry me– and God, she said she would.

Then the trouble REALLY started! Her folks went ravin’ mad,
And when mine heard about it, they were twice as bad.
My father said from that day on he’d hang his head in shame–
And by a strange coincidence HER father said the same!

My mother cried her eyes out & said I’d rue the day
That I let a Papist hussy steal my loyal heart away.
And Rosie’s mother said, when she recovered from the blow,
That she’d rather have the divil than a man from Sandy Row!

We were married in a Papist church, the other side of town,
That’s how Rosie wanted it and I couldn’t let her down.
But the priest was very nice to me & made me feel at home–
I think he pitied both of us… our families didn’t come.

The rooms we went to live in had nothin’ but the walls,
It was far away from Sandy Row & further from the Falls.
But that’s the way we wanted it, for both of us knew well
That back among the crowd we knew our lives would just be hell.

But life out there for Rosie was lonely, I well knew,
And of course we had our wee religious differences too:
At dinner time on Friday, when Rosie gave me fish,
I looked at it and then at her, and said, “Thon’s not my dish.”

I mind well what she said to me– You’ve got to pay some price,
“And to eat no meat on Friday is a poor wee sacrifice.
To make for Christ who died for us one Friday long ago,”
Anyway, I ate the fish– and it wasn’t bad, you know.

Then Sunday came and I lay on when she got up at eight.
But Rosie turned to me and said, “Get up or you’ll be late.
You’ve got a church to go to and there’s where you should be,
So up you get this minute– you’ll be part o’ the road with me.”

We left the house together, but we parted down the line.
And she went off to HER church and I went off to mine.
But all throughout the service, although we were apart,
I felt that we were worshipping together in our hearts.

The weeks & months went quickly by and then there came the day
When Rosie upped & told me that a child was on the way.
We went down on our knees that day & asked the Lord above
To give our child TWO gifts alone– tolerance & love.

We wrote & told our families–they never used to call
And we thought the news might soften them, and so it did & all.
My mother, and then Rosie’s said they’d visit us in turn,
And then we marveled at the power of a wee child not yet born.

But I was disillusioned when I found out WHY they came,
It wasn’t to be friendly or to make it up again.
Rosie’s mother came to say the child must be R.C.
And mine said it would have to be a Protestant like me.

The rows before the wedding were surely meek & mild
Compared with all the rumpus that was raised about the child.
From both sides of the family insults and threats were hurled–
Oh, what a way to welcome a wee angel to the world!

The child must be Catholic! The child must be a Prod!
But the last & loudest voice I heard was the mighty voice of God.
And to his awful wisdom I had to bow my head,
An hour after it was born our poor wee child was dead!

That night I sat by Rosie’s side & just before the dawn
I kissed her as she left me to join her angel son.
And my loyal heart was broken within thon lonely walls…
Where the hell’s Shankhill! Where the hell’s The Falls!!

But that was many years ago, long years o’ grief & pain
When I’d have given all I had to see her face again.
But my loneliness is over now; I’ll see her soon I know,
The doctor told me yesterday I haven’t long to go.

And when I go up yonder they’ll let me in, I hope,
But if they ask me who I’m for, King Billy or the Pope,
I’m goin’ to take no chances– I’ll tell them straight & fair,
I’m a Loyal Ulster Protestant… who loved a Papist.

And one way or another, I know they’ll let me through,
And Rosie will be waitin’ there, and our little angel too.
Then the child will lead us, the Papist & the Prod,
Up the steps together.. into the arms of God.

Tommy’s Song

Tommy’s Song
by John O’Brien, Jr.

Awaken Mary Ann, for
The Liar,
The Man of No Conscience,
That No Irish Need Apply
Peace and Justice
in the Rape of the Gael
In That Land I Loved So Well,
True Love and Time.
have stopped.

There Was An Old Woman.
among the Four Green Fields,
She entreated me,
Brendan, The Darkley Weaver,
Don’t Go Down To The Big Green Sea.
from Clean Air, Clean Water,
to the Ships of War ready,
even The Water Sings out –
to the march of
The Enniskillen Dragoons
Where Ever The Winds?
The Winds of Morning?

The Winds Are Singing Freedom!
And call for Better Times.
I went anyway.
And so,
Farewell My Friends.
Farewell to Carlingford
Fare Thee Well Enniskillen

Let there be none
of The Morning After Blues.
Fear, but hope again to walk
This Dusty Road.
when next again, in victory
we are Rolling Home.

But now, as we enjoin
The Boys of Killybegs
Toasting farewells,
sipping Paddy Kelly’s Brew.
Freedom’s Sons
are singing;
singing sad songs,
to their love, songs.
Pretty Maggie O’, Sally O’,
Pretty Saro and Rosie.
for some,
a Song For The Children.

In The Time Of Scented Roses,
let they be not black,
The Long Woman’s Grave.
Rather Sing Me The Old Songs;
of Rambling Rivers
in The Rambles of Spring,
Clear Blue Hills
or Grey October Clouds,
among Long Winter Nights.

If I should return,
If You Should Ask Me,
I’m Going Home To Mary,
Smiling Mary
I can see her, as she holds
our Gentle Annie in her arms,
listening to
The Listowel Blackbird sing;
Music In The Twilight,
In Newry Town

I will return again.


This is dedicated to, and about, Tommy Makem. The words in italics are titles to songs he has written, just a few of the more than 400 total. Irish music, culture, the Irish themselves have been indelibly changed by this man and we are forever grateful.

Song – Down By the Glenside

One of my favorite songs

Down by the Glenside

By Peader Kearney

‘Twas down by the glenside, I met an old woman
She was picking young nettles and she scarce saw me coming
I listened a while to the song she was humming
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men

‘Tis fifty long years since I saw the moon beaming
On strong manly forms and their eyes with hope gleaming
I see them again, sure, in all my daydreaming
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

Some died on the glenside, some died near a stranger
And wise men have told us that their cause was a failure
They fought for old Ireland and they never feared danger
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men

I passed on my way, God be praised that I met her
Be life long or short, sure I’ll never forget her
We may have brave men, but we’ll never have better
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men


Peader Kearney is the BIL of Brendan Behan, and wrote many many great songs. This is a slow, lovely song, almost a lament. Danny Doyle sings it beautifully, gorgeously. The Fenians, were men who felt Ireland should be united and free, under rule of Irishmen. Then politics got involved, but that is a whole ‘nother story. The “stranger” in the song is the occupier, England.

Ellis Island, closed but not forgotten – no NEVER

Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears
by B. Graham

On the first day of January 1892 they opened Ellis Island and let the people through
And the first to cross that threshold of that Isle of Hope and Tears
Was Annie Moore from Ireland who was only fifteen years

Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears, Isle of Freedom, Isle of Fears
But its not the isle you left behind
That isle of hunger, isle of pain, isle you’ll never see again
But the isle of home is always on your mind

In a little a bag she carried all her past and history
And her dreams for the future in the land of liberty
And courage is your passport when your old world disappears
For there’s no future in the past when you’re fifteen years, Chorus

When they closed Ellis Island in 1943
Seventeen million people had come there for sanctuary
And in springtime when I came there and stepped onto its pier
I thought of how it must have been when you’re only fifteen years, Chorus

Just what are the Seven Nations?

The Seven Nations of the Celtic world;

Eire (Ireland), Alba (Scotland), Briezh (Brittany), Mannin (Isle of Man), Cymru (Wales) Kernow (Cornwall) and Galicia (Spain).

There are 14 tribes that make up the people of the Seven Nations:

Aedui, Averni, Boii, Brignates,Durotriges, Eravisci, Helveti, Ieeni, Nervii, Parisii, Trinovantes, Scordisci, Veneti & Volcae.

Poem: Sean O’Casey’s “Rose & Crown”

quoting Sean O’Casey, in his Rose & Crown:

“The chants of an odd bird, the lowing of cattle, the whistling of the wind, the patient patter of falling rain, the brave, meritorious tinkle of the Abbey Theatre orchestra, were all of the sweet sounds that the ear of Sean knew. Oh, and the folk-song, the folk-song, the gay and melancholy strains of the Irish folk-song, on fiddle, on harp, and on fife. And no folk-art is there but is born in the disregard of gain, and in the desire to add a newer beauty and a steadier charm to God’s well-turned-out gifts to man; and so, out of the big love in his heart for all things comely and of good shape, the great poet Yeats exclaims:

“‘Folk-art is indeed, the oldest of the aristocracies of thought, and because it refuses what is passing and trivial, the merely clever and pretty, as certainly as the vulgar and insincere, and because it has gathered unto itself the simplest and most unforgettable thoughts of the generations, it is the soil where all art is rooted.’”

Things I miss the most

Sheehan’s Pub with Big Sexy, Sheila & Brigid’s Cross playing on Wed. nights
The dances at the old IA on Madison
Christmas at Halle’s, going to the top floor on the rickety old wooden escalators to see Mr. Jingling.
Tom Byrne and his flute
Eire Og
Bands staying overnight in the old days, dad would bring them home from the IA – Do you remember Bridie Gallagher?
Darby O’Toole’s and live Irish music
Derek McCormack
Irish students staying with us all summer – the brothers I never had.
Detroit’s festival in the city center
Broomball on Sundays – all the Irish teams competing so fiercely
Bus trips with Gaelic Football – to Pittsburgh and Detroit, Toronto
The Colonial Boy
The sing-alongs at my parents New Year’s Eve parties and sitting under the table listening, hidden by the table cloth, so they wouldn’t know I was still up. Martha Maloney singing Nobody’s Child, Dad singing Spancil Hill. Betty Moran and her laughter.
Not ever meeting Frank Harte
Going to Crystal Springs with the Lowrys, stopping to pick strawberrys or blueberry’s.
Not having RA
Noel Henry
Fado downtown
Terri R.
Kirsta B.
the East Ohio Gas days at Geauga Lake

How about you? What do you remember/miss?

These are a few of my Favorite things (in Cleveland)

In no particular order, category or preference:

The Harp Restaurant on a summer’s eve, on the deck
Sheehan’s Pub when Big Sexy and Sheila ran the joint
the Valley, especially on hot days
Nuevo Aculpulco – Amazing Mexican Rest.
Nitetown – Great music, great food class act
Survivor’s Party at the Public House
Sullivan’s – Great food, waitresses (ok, one in particular), mugs and Black Pudding
Borders Crocker Park – great selection, great sales and an expanding Irish section
Green Island Restaurant – the owner’s a class act, the food is great, fast, and always hot and the staff are friendly and fun. My favorite Cleveland Restaurant
Danta’s Pizza (on R.River Drive) Best Pizza in the city
Red Robin Chicken Burger & Salad – UNBEATABLE
Kathleen’s Kitchen
The Goodtime III
Stampers’s with the Barleycorn on the 3rd Thursday and awesome oven baked turkey and swiss sub
Peggy Goonin Baker singing There Were Roses
Alec DeGabriele singing Patriot Games or The Rhonda
Lisa Spicer singing sea songs
Paul singing Fiddle in the Band
Sean Moore singing Gentle Annie
John Delaney doing Roisin Dubh
Marty Kelly singing any Saw Drs song
Ritchie doing 12
Wally singing Ireland
Callahan & O’Connor / Barleycorn / Brace Yourself Bridget / Brigid’s Cross / Wally Franz / the Kilroys / Morrison & McCarthy / Mossy Moran / Pitch the Peat /Lisa Spicer /
A club sandwich at Red Lantern
Festival afters parties at Cleveland’s Irish Cultural Festival
The Fish Frys at the West Side Irish-American Club and the gang McDonough’s Brigade
Kevin McDonough smoking a cigar and singing a great song
Kevin Kelly playing the pipes
Marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, after the mass at St. Coleman’s and before B.G.’s bash
Carole W and her van
Tom & Tom – playing and laughing, entertaining and teaching – a Cleveland treasure
The Browns
Breakfast with Mike Mazur at Joe’s – a funny funny good man The Irish Barber – get the news and a haircut
Casey’s irish Imports – Vera and Tom and the kids are always so nice, the stock is the best and you can always get a Flake bar there.
GPS Sports – great Cleveland high school, college and pro collectibles and a place to see the sports stars once in a while
How easy it is to exit downtown – traffic is rarely a big delay

Kilkelly, Ireland

This is a true story - actually a song, called Kilkelly, Ireland,
or more often, just Kilkelly.  It is a slow, hurtful lament,
sung with hope but hidden behind reality - few who left Ireland
in emigration ever returned.  Many, many died on the infamous
Coffin Ships, on the trip over.  Some went to England,
more to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and others.  But most
went to America - giving rise to the term American Wake.
Kilkelly was recorded by many, many groups, including:
Moloney, O'Connell & Keane and Jeff Ward
The story seems to be that Peter Jones found letters of his
great grandfather, who left Kilkelly some one hundred and
thirty years before, probably around late 1850.  The letters
were from Peter's great, great grandfather to his son, Peter's
great grandfather.
They tell of life in Ireland, starting just after the closing
of Irelands most devastating famine, An Gorta Mor,
(or the Great Hunger), from 1845 thru 1850, including the
now infamous year of Black 47.  Somewhere between
2 million and 9 million people either perished or emigrated
from Ireland during this period, the number devastated depends
on who you talk to.  The governing British, sending shiploads of
grain and wheat out of Irish harbors while millions died within a
few feet and all across the country, claimed that there were 4 million
in Ireland at the start of An Gorta Mor.
This number was based on the now infamous Hearth Tax.  This tax
was figured on the tax men (or excise man) walking throughout Ireland and
counting the Hearths (chimneys) he saw.  He then figured that there were
four people - mom, dad and two children  - living under each chimney.
Now, I am no authority, but there weren't too many farming families
in Ireland that had only two kids, many had more than ten.  They were
farmers, and needed free labor.  They certainly weren't going to call up the
excise man and say, Yo we have more than that, tax us more!
Also, in most families, the oldest son got the farm, his parents, if still
living, lived there too, and often an unmarried brother or sister, or two, and
sometimes even a cousin, uncle or other relation might be living there also.

The truth lies somewhere in between.

We do know that at the end of this period, there were only two million
Irish  left on the little island (you can fit all of Ireland inside Ohio).

So,  draw your own conclusions.


Kilkelly, Ireland
               by Peter Jones
Kilkelly, Ireland, 1860, 
To my dear and loving son John,

Your good friend the Schoolmaster Pat McNamara 
   was so good as to write these words down.
Your brothers have all gone to find work in England,
   the house is so empty and sad
The crop of potatoes is sorely infected,
   a third to a half of them bad.
And your sister Brigid and Patrick O'Donnell
  are going to be married in June.
And Mother says not to work on the railroad,
  and be sure to come on home soon.
Kilkelly, Ireland, 1870, 
To my dear and loving son John,
Hello to your Mrs. and to your 4 children,
  may they grow up healthy and strong.
And Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble,
  I suppose that he never will learn.
Because of the darkness there's no turf to speak of
  and now we have nothing to burn.
And Brigid is happy, you named a child for her
  although she's got six of her own.
You say youve found work, but you don't say what kind 
 or when you will be coming home.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 1880, 
To Michael and John, my sons,
I'm sorry to give you the very sad news
  that your dear old mother passed on.
We buried her down at the church in Kilkelly,
  your brothers and Brigid were there.
You don't have to worry, she died very quickly,
  remember her in your prayers.
And it's so good to hear that Michael's returning,
  with money he's sure to buy land
For the crops have been poor and people are selling 
  at any price that they can.
Kilkelly, Ireland, 1890
To my dear and loving son John,
I suppose that I must be close on to eighty,
  it's thirty years since youve gone.
Because of all of the money you send me,
  I'm still living out on my own.
And Michael has built himself a fine house
  and Brigid's daughters have grown.
And Thank you for sending your family picture,
  such lovely young women and men.
You say that you might even come for a visit,
  what joy to see you again.

Kilkelly, Ireland, 1892
To my dear brother John,
I'm sorry I didn't write sooner to tell you, but father passed on.
He was living with Brigid, she says he was cheerful
  and healthy right down to the end.
Ah, you should have seen him play with the grandchildren 
  of Pat McNamara, your friend.
We buried him alongside of mother,
  down at the Kilkelly churchyard.
He was a strong and a feisty old man,
  considering his life was so hard.
And it's funny the way he kept talking about you,
  he called for you at the end.
Oh, why don't you think about coming to visit,
  we'd all love to see you again.

Fav Quotes

Easter Monday marks the 90th Anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland.  A path that led to freedom, for the first time in over 800 years, for the people of the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland, finalized in 1922.  Contention still exists, in the desire to reunite the other six counties, that comprise Northern Ireland, with her southern brethren in the Republic.  A few lines, from this period are often quoted.  Here they are, in their broader text.


I have but a few words to say.  I am going to my cold silent grave, my lamp of life is nearly extinguished, my race is run, the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom.  I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world; it is, the charity of its silence.  Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them; let not prejudice nor ignorance asperse them.  Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace; and my tomb remained uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character.  When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not until the, let my epitaph be written. – Robert Emmett, September 19th, 1803.  23 years old, after being sentenced to death for leading another Irish rising for freedom, unusual in that it was so soon after the pivotal Rising of 98 (1798)

I write it out in verse –

MacDonagh and MacBride

And Connolly and Pearse

Now and in time to be,

Where ever green is worn,

Are changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.

W.B. Yeats – 1916

I assume that I am speaking to Englishmen who value their own freedom and who profess to be fighting for freedom of Belgium and Serbia.  Believe that we too love freedom and desire it.  To us it is more desirable than anything in the world.  If you strike us down now we shall rise again and renew the fight.  You cannot conquer Ireland; you cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom; if our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom then our children will win it by a better deed.

– Padraic Pearse – May 2, 1916.  Leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, speaking at the court martial sentencing him to death.