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Local Songs

Crowe’s Bridge

Contributed by Paddy Brennan.

Like most journalistic ballads on newsworthy events little information need be added to this song for it gives the story of the engagement at Crowe’s Bridge in graphic detail. The Ignatius referred to is the same Ignatius O’Neill who played a prominent part in the Rinneen Ambush later on in the same year.

The air usually associated with this song is “The Home I Left Behind”.

It’s near Crowe’s Bridge at Inagh
A monument now stands
Erected by the people,
As done in other lands.
In the memory of Devitt,
Who led his gallant band,
And took his stand at Inagh,
For to free his native land.

’Twas in February 1920,
This gallant little band
Set out from Ennistymon
And down across the land.
They moved along the countryside,
As the eel moves through the sand.
And at Crowe’s Bridge near Inagh,
They took their noble stand.

Ignatius now has posted them,
They obey without a grouse.
Two men lay at the south side,
Two more near Duggan’s house.
Some local scouts were posted too,
In case of a surprise.
Their one and only duty was
To signal to the boys.

Thus on an Irish hillside,
The battle scene was laid
And as those soldiers waited,
Silently they prayed,
To ask their heavenly father,
To give them steady hand.
And play their part in Inagh,
For to free their native land.

No sooner were they ready,
Than the signal was passed through,
That four English peelers,
Were cycling into view,
The order load was given,
As those boys lay in a drain.
But Martin fires already,
And again is taking aim.

But the peelers do not like the lead,
To battle they’d not go.
So their only alternative,
In a boghole to lie low.
But spoke brave Martin Devitt,
“We soon will get them out,”
As they moved from their position,
From the wall that faces south.

They moved along inside the ditch,
And then they crossed the road,
When Martin stopped his comrades,
Their rifles for to load.
They then moved up the hillside,
Through furze and heather green,
Until they came to the fatal spot,
Where the monument now is seen.

The battle then it starts again,
As the boys lay in drain.
But sniper Hughes has seen them,
And shot Martin through the brain,
Ingatius his brave comrade,
Does not fear the English lead,
He goes to help poor Martin,
But finds him to be dead.

As he kneels to say a silent prayer,
Down by his comrade’s side,
The peeler’s kept on firing,
But their shots were falling wide.
Their shots were fired at random,
Some were low and some were high.
But sniper Hughes has fired again,
And shot him through the thigh.

Ignatius, weak from loss of blood,
He could no longer stay,
So over to Jim Meaney’s
He quickly made his way.
There his wounds were washed and bandaged,
Still his spirit light and gay,
“Listen lads, this wound is nothing,
We will fight another day!”

The battle was scarcely over,
On the cold and tragic day,
When Martin’s comrades came,
To take his body away.
But God’s angels also came for
That soul of Irish pride,
Who fought so bravely and so true,
For Ireland’s cause he died.

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