Men of the West, Song from Co. Mayo
Men of the West, Author: William Rooney
When you honor in song and in story
The names of the patriot men,
Whose valor has covered with glory
Full many a mountain and glen,
Forget not the boys of the heather
Who rallied their bravest and best
When Ireland was broken in Wexford
And looked for revenge to the West.
I give you the gallant old West, boys,
Where rallied our bravest and best
When Ireland lay broken and bleeding;
Hurrah for the men of the West!
The hilltops with glory were glowing
'Twas the eve of a bright harvest day,
When the ship we'd been wearily waiting
Sailed into Killala's broad bay.
And over the hills went the slogan
To awaken in every breast
The fire that has never been quenched, boys,
Among the true hearts of the West.
Killala was ours ere the midnight,
And high over Ballina town
Our banners in triumph were waving
Before the next sun had gone down.
We gathered to speed the good work, boys
The true men from near and afar;
And history can tell how we routed
The redcoats through old Castlebar.
And pledge me the stout sons of France, boys,
Bold Humbert and all his brave men,
Whose tramp, like the trumpet of battle,
Brought hope to the drooping again.
Since Ireland has caught to her bosom
On many a mountain and hill
The gallants who fell, so they're here, boys,
To cheer us to victory still.
Though all the bright dreamings we cherished
Went down in disaster and woe,
The spirit of old is still with us
That never would bend to the foe.
And Connaught is ready whenever
The loud rolling tuck of the drum
Rings out to awaken the echoes
And tell us the morning has come.
Willliam Rooney (Liam Ó Maolruanaigh), born in Dublin in 1873, was an Irish nationalist, journalist, poet and Gaelic revivalist.
For the Centenary Celebrations of the 1798 Rebellion, he wrote the lyrics of this song on the air of an Irish song called “Eoghan Chóir” which was composed by the Mayo Society of United Irishmen member and songwriter, Riocard Bairéad who took part in the Rebellion.
Afterwards, the song was translated into Irish by Conchúr Mag Uidhir, who won a prize for that work at the 1903 Feis Ceoil in Mayo.