The lyrics to Follow Me Up to Carlow were written by P J McCall in the late 19th century – a good 200 years after the events the song describes.
The tune is reputed to have been played as a marching tune the pipers of Fiach McHugh, the hero featured in the lyrics.
The composer is unknown, but the tune was collected by McCall who heard it being played by musicians in County Wexford in Ireland. The song had largely fallen out favour and was in danger of being forgotten before it was revived and made popular by the Irish band Planxty in the 1970s.
Planxty play Follow Me Up to Carlow D minor. It’s given here in E minor but you can use our chord converter to transpose it to different keys.
See the swords of Glen Imayle
Flashing o’er the English Pale
See all the children of the Gael,
Beneath O’Byrne’s banners
Rooster of the fighting stock,
Would you let an English cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock,
Fly up and teach him manners.
From Tassagart to Clonmore
Flows a stream of Saxon Gore.
Great is Rory Og O’More
At sending loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled,
Now for black Fitzwilliam’s head
We’ll send it over, dripping red,
To Liza and her ladies.
[Em]Lift Mac Cahir Og your face, brooding o’er the [G]old disgrace
That [Em]black Fitzwilliam stormed your place and drove you [D]to the [Em]Fern.
Gray said victory was sure, [ soon the firebrand [G]he’d secure
Un[Em]til he met at Glenmalure, Fiach [D]Mac Hugh O'[Em]Byrne
[Bm]Curse and swear, Lord Kildare, [D]Fiach will do what [Em]Fiach will dare
[Bm]Now Fitzwilliam have a care, [D]fallen is your [Em]star low
[Bm]Up with halbert, out with sword, [D]on we go for by the Lord
[Bm]Fiach Mac Hugh has given his word: [D] Follow me up to [Em]Carlow
See the swords of Glen Imayle flashing o’er the English Pale
See all the children of the Gael, beneath O’Byrne’s banners
Rooster of the fighting stock, would you let an English cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock, fly up and teach him manners
From Tassagart to Clonmore flows a stream of Saxon Gore
Great is Rory Og O’More at sending loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled, now for black Fitzwilliam’s head
We’ll send it over, dripping red, to Liza and her ladies