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Local Songs

The Cattle Drive of Doolin

Contributed by Micho Russell of Doolin.

This song fragment is of local historical interest and documents a period of great excitement in the history of Ennistymon. In 1908 the “Land Question” was being resolved throughout Ireland by landlords selling their holdings to the sitting tenants. Among those reluctant to follow this trend was Macnamara of Ennistymon who preferred to let his land to graziers, including retired British Army Officers. The famous Cattle Drive occurred when the tenants from Doolin and elsewhere took the cattle from off the grazier’s land and drove them all in to the grounds of the Macnamara home (now the Falls Hotel). No less then forty people received terms of imprisonment at Ennistymon court as a result of this and the song refers to the riots which took place when these jail sentences were imposed.

In the last days of September
When our boys were sent to jail,
They marched them to the station-house,
And sent them off by rail.
The bobbies who escorted them
Were itching for a row,
For nothing irritated them
But the How! How! How!

The peelers started charging,
And the boys were flinging stones,
Harrison got frightened
And shouted out to Holmes:
I think we’re mistaken
In kicking up this row,
For they’ll drive us like the bullocks,
With their How! How! How!

Long life to you O’Brien
Your’re locked in prison cell,
To your loyal comrades,
History will tell.
With courage bold they did their work,
And manfully were seen,
That day in Ennistymon,
When we unfurled the flag of green.

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