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The Manchester Martyrs
(Roud 3029)
Michael Flanagan
Luogh, Doolin
Recorded in singer’s home, August 1974

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


It was in November I well remember,
Six noble heroes to Manchester came.
It was their intention I now will mention,
To free old Ireland from all tyrant chains.
The police they viewed them as if they knew them,
And to pursue them they ne’er did fail.
They did surround them with handcuffs bound them,
And marched them prisoners to Bellevue Gaol.

When Allen heard that those men were taken,
To O’Brien and Larkin he quickly flew.
Saying to Colonel Kiely, ‘My heart is breaking,
Six noble heroes what shall they do?’
Oh they went together like loyal brothers
And like loyal brothers they did agree,
Saying, ‘Let every man go up to the van,
We will smash it open and set them free.’

At eight o’clock on that fateful morning
When wicked Calcraft* did appear,
They raised their heads and they kissed each other,
Ah well they knew their last end was near.
Up to the gallows they looked around them
Like sons of Erin what could be seen,
For miles around them they came in thousands
To see those heroes dying for the green.

Oh their graves are made in holy Ireland
And holy angels around them stand,
St Patrick made them, with his joyous blessing,
‘You’re welcome heroes to our heavenly land.’
St Patrick made them with his joyous blessings
With his coat of arms and flag of green.

* William Calcraft, a famous English hangman


"On November 23rd 1867, William Phillip Allen, Michael Larkin and Michael O'Brien were executed for their part in the escape of two leading members of the Fenian movement, Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy from a prison van transporting them to Belle Vue Gaol in Manchester. In the course of the escape a policeman was accidentally shot and killed. The executions of Allen, Larkin and O’Brien in Salford Gaol in 1867 were followed a year later by that of Fenian Michael Barratt in Old Newgate, in London; Barratt’s execution was the last public hanging to be carried out in Britain. The executions were responsible for a huge increase in popular support for Fenianism in Ireland and the partial reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Fenian Movement."

The Manchester Martyrs: A Fenian Tragedy, Paul Rose, M.P.
More Irish Street Ballads, Colm O Lochlainn.
Jim Carroll

See also
The Manchester Martyrs sung by Austin Flanagan
The Manchester Martyrs sung by Tom Lenihan

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