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Three Brave Blacksmiths
(Roud 9768)
Unnamed Clare Singer

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Three brave blacksmiths, down in the County Clare
They wouldn't shoe a grabber's horse, they wouldn’t shoe his mare.
They wouldn’t take his money, for his threats they didn't care,
They'd rather go unshod themselves than shame the County Clare.

Three brave blacksmiths were sent away to jail;
Off they went, quite content, their spirits didn't fail;
They wouldn’t make apologies, they wouldn't offer bail,
And now for their punishment - a week for every nail.

Three brave blacksmiths heard with grateful pride
From their wives and little ones how they were supplied,
Kept in every comfort by the neighbours far and wide,
And in the fullness of their hearts, with joy they nearly cried.

Three brave blacksmiths, coming home once more,
Met a crowd of loving friends at the prison door;
The people cheered behind them and the music played before,
Until each blacksmith so stood again upon his cabin floor.

Blacksmiths, whitesmiths, tradesmen everywhere,
Farmers, labourers, see your model there;
Be you all as ready for to do and dare
As the three brave blacksmiths down in the County Clare.


"In 1888 in Miltown Malbay, three local blacksmiths, Maguire, Moloney and Heaney, were jailed for supporting the boycotting of a local landlord, Mrs Burdett Moroney, by refusing to shoe the horse of one of her employees. They were sentenced to a day for every nail they would have used, a total of 28 days. The term 'grabber' in the first verse is an 18th/19th century expression, an abbreviation of 'land-grabber', referring to a person who took possession of lands of evicted tenants. The song was written by T D Sullivan, Land Leaguer and editor of ‘The Nation’, and was first published in 1888 in ‘Prison Poems or Lays of Tullamore’. He also wrote ‘God Save Ireland’.”
Jim Carroll

See also
Three Brave Blacksmiths sung by Vincie Boyle

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