The Woods Of Drumbo (also known as The Drumboe Martyrs) is thought to have been written by Michael McGinley (1852 – 1940).
The Woods Of Drumbo is a Donegal song.
It commemorates 4 anti-Treaty soldiers – members of a flying column who were executed on March 14, 1923 by Free State troopers in Co Donegal.
The men who were shot were Charlie Daly, Sean Larkin, Timothy O’Sullivan and Daniel Enright, (there is some confusion whether it was O’Sullivan or O’Donnell). They came from Kerry, Cork and Derry,
Drumbo is a small village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland about 6 miles south of Belfast.
’Twas the eve of St.Patrick, at the
The hills of Tirconnell, lay slumbering and
first light of morning illumined the
They were Enright, O’Donnell and Dawly by name,
From the counties of Cork and from Kerry they came,
While the gallant Stan Larkin from the banks of the Roe
Completes the four martyrs shot dead at Drumbo.
These four Irish soldiers were dragged from their cell,
For months they had suffered the torments of hell.
No mercy they asked from their merciless foe,
And no mercy was shown by the thugs at Drumbo.
Three left their loved homesteads in Kerry’s green vale,
And one came from Derry to fight for the Gael
But instead of true friends they met traitor and foe
And uncoffined were laid in the woods of Drumbo.
The church bells rang out in the cool morning air
To summon the faithful to penance and prayer,
When a shot from the wild wood brought terror and woe
‘Twas the death knell of Dawly, shot dead at Drumbo.
Let Tyreconnell ne’er boast of her honour and fame,
All the waters of Finn could not wash out the stain.
While the Foyle and the Swilly continue to flow,
The stain will remain on the woods of Drumbo.