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The Murder of Mrs O’Mara
Martin Howley
Fanore, north west Clare
Recorded 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Howley

And you feeling-hearted Christians, of high and low degree,
I hope you’ll pay attention and listen unto me.
It’s of a cruel murder as e’re you heard or hear,
It happened near Broadford all on the other day.

And the victim of this cruel deed, the truth I will inform
Is a woman who leaves a family behind in sorrow, grief and woe.
Her name is Mrs O’Mara, we’re very sorry to say;
May the lord have mercy on her soul good Christians for her pray.

On the seventh of December as shortly you will hear,
When this woman and her family all in hail, joy and cheer,
Conversing with some neighbours, sitting by the fire
And the door was partly opened and the fatal shot was fired.

And when he did the murder, the truth to you I’ll tell,
The darkness of the December night it shielded him so well.
He fled when he did the murder, no savage could do more
Than to murder this poor woman and to leave her in her gore.

And the Lord himself, he gave commands, he said: ‘Thou shall not kill.’
But little did the scoundrel care when her he came to kill.
God help her loving family in grief they do deplore,
May her soul find rest with God above, and that for ever more.

And kind letters of sympathy, they came from far and near;
From rich and poor from every part throughout the County Clare.
I hope the murderer, wherever he may be,
Will be brought before a jury where justice will be given.

And now to end those mournful lines, I have no more to say,
But for the soul of Mrs O’Mara let every Christian pray.
God help her loving family in grief they do deplore,
May her soul find rest with God above, and that for ever more.


Conversation after song between Martin Howley, Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie:-
Jim: Would you know when that happened?
Martin: I was a young lad when it happed you know. I was.
Jim: Could you just tell me on tape what age are you?
Martin: Seventy four.
Jim: What was your job, are you retired now?
Martin: I am retired.
Jim: What was your job?
Martin: A farmer and labourer.

“Mrs Johanna O’Mara was murdered at Claremount, Broadford in 1911. Presumably this is a locally-made song outlining the event; there are no other examples of it. We were told that it was a random shooting by an unnamed passer-by, though no information seems to be available on the case.”
Jim Carroll

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