Na Buachaillí Bána - The White Boys


The Right Honorable Denis Browne was High Sheriff of County Mayo in 1798 known variously as 'soap the rope' and 'Donncha an rópa'. He dealt savagely with those who had participated in the White Boys (Na Buachaillí Bána) Uprising It was estimated that Denis Browne had 200 men hanged, 200 transported and 100 more pressed into service in the British Army overseas or salt mines on the Continent. It was his assertion that he could hang whom he pleased in the county and in the aftermath of the rebellion he proved that this was no idle boast. A reign of terror was instituted during which summary execution was possible for trivial offences or none. It was said that for months afterwards, he had a man hanged in Castlebar every day. Sometimes he presided personally at the executions.

le Antaine Ó Raifteirí (1784-1835)

1. A Dhonncha Brúin 's deas do chraithfinn lámh leat
Agus ní le grá duit ach le fonn do ghabháil
Cheanglóinn suas thú le rópa cnáibe
Agus chuirfinn mo "Spír" i do bholg mór.

2. Mar is iomaí buachaill maith chuir tú thar sáile
Thiocfas anall fís is cúnamh leo
Faoi chultaibh dearga agus hataí lása
'S beidh an droma Francach a' seinm leo!

3. A chrann duilleach, má chríondo do bhláthsa,
mo chreach níor dhaingnigh do fhréamhacha
mar tháinig an donas orm le linn na bhFrancach
is an t-arm Gallda ar gach uile thaobh.

4. Cén bhrí an cluiche seo go dtaga an Spáinneach
is imeoidh an pharlaímint ó chumhacht an rí,
seo é an imirt a bhfaighidh muid sásamh
beidh an talamh bán againn ar bheagán cíos'.

5. Ag teacht an tséasúir déanfaidh muid sléachtadh,
maróidh muid céad agus dhá mhíle bó,
beidh buailí Shasana le beagán géimní
ag teacht an tséasúir má bhíonn muid beo.

6. Beidh leathar fairsing ag na gréasaithe Gaelach
is ní iarrfaidh muid péire orthu níos lú ná coróin,
beidh bróga againne gan Dia dá méadú
is ní íosfaidh muid béile níos mó gan feoil.

7. A Johnny Gibbons mo chúig chéad slán leat,
is fada uaim thú in sa nGearmáin
is é do chroí gan chealgadh a bhí riamh le suairceas
ar an cnoc seo thuas tá ár gcúnamh fann.

8. Tá sé dá aithris dúinn ó bhéal an údair
go loiscfidh an slúp linn nár baisteadh a dhream,
mura dtaga tú de relief orainn ins' aimsir chruatain
is mór an truaí muid faoi bharra gleann.
.

9. Tá Johnny Gibbons is ár nAthair Maol're
agus iad á gcaomhúint amach faoin móin,
faoi thart is faoi easonóir is fhuacht na hoíche
is níl fiú an bhraoin dí acu ná dram lena ól,

10 Ní mar sin a chleacht siad ach fuíoll na bhfuíoll
agus shoraidh díofa nach dtug aire dó,
is rímhór m'fhaitíos mura bhfuil ag íosa
go mbeidh siad síos leis, agus tuilleadh leo.

11. Tá a fhios ag an saol nár mharaíos caora
in san oíche is nár speir mé bó,
Má tá i ndán is go n-éireoidh an lá linn
go bhfaighidh muid sásamh in san gcúis seo fós.

12. Bronnann muid Camas ar an Athair Maol're
is Baile an Mhaoil le haghaidh a bhó
is ní bheidh muid choíche arís ár ndíbirt
gan bhia gan dídean amach faoin móin.

13. Tá bullán bacach faoi bharr an tsléibhe
is deir gach aon neach nach mbeidh i bhfad beo,
Coirnéal Máirtín 'tá ina cheann ar an taobh sin
agus measaim féin gur aige is cóir.

14. Tá céad fear acu a chuir an t-airgead le chéile
nár ghearr féith is nár ith an fheoil,
ach, a chlann Mhig Eochagáin, má tá tú in Éirinn
ná lig an léirscrios go hIorras Mór.

Proinsias Osborne

O, Dennis Browne I'd happily shake your hand
And not for love of you, but a desire to capture you
I would tie you up with a hempen rope
And I'd put my spear in your big belly.

For 'tis many a good lad you sent abroad
Whose return is envisioned along with help
Wearing red uniforms and lace (trimmed) hats
And the French drums playing for them!

O budding tree, if your flowers wither,
My despair that your roots did not set
Because I despaired in the time of the French
And the foreign armies on all sides

What purpose this game till the Spaniard comes
And the parliament taken from the kings control,
Here's the play that would bring us satisfaction
The land will be clear to us at low rents.

When comes the season we will slaughter,
We will kill two thousand one hundred cattle.
The English bulls will have little to roar about
When comes the season if we are alive.

There will be leather aplenty for Irish shoemakers
And we will not ask for a pair less than a crown,
We will have shoes without God's measure
And we'll not eat a meal again without meat.

Johnny Gibbons I give you my best wishes
You are far away from me in Germany
It was your pure heart which was always joyful
On this hill above there is faint help.

It is being recited to us from the author's mouth
That the sloop will be destroyed whose crew was not baptised,
If you do not come to our relief in this time of hardship
Great will be our misery at the head of the glenn.

Johnny Gibbons and our Father Mallory
They are being protected out in the bog,
Thirst and dishonour and cold of the night
They have not even a drop or a dram to drink.

This is not how they lived but in abundance
And curses to them who didn't care for him,
Great is my fear if Jesus does not have
Them in his displeasure, and more with them.

The world knows that I didn't kill a sheep
In the night nor hamstring a cow,
If from my poem we win the day
May we be satisfied in this cause yet.

We present Camas to Father Mallory
And a place of plenty for his cow
And we never again shall be banished
Without food or shelter out on the bog.

There is a crippled bullock on the mountain
And everyone says he will not live very long,
Coronel Martin is in charge on that side
And I believe that he deserves it.

There are a hundred men who put the money together
Who did not cut muscle nor eat the meat,
But, clann Mac Eochagan, if you are in Ireland
Don't let the destruction come to Erris Mor.

Born into a time in Irish history which saw the Rising of ’98 and its aftermath of violence, Raftery witnessed the Act of Union in 1801 which resulted in the ‘Absentee Landlords' giving the ‘Middlemen’ a free hand to charge ‘rack rents’ to the tenants who lived in fear of eviction. Years before, the landowners had started to ‘enclose’ the commonages where the people were allowed free grazing for their young cattle. Secret societies such as the Whiteboys were formed by people who strongly objected to this. Raftery was on the side of these societies and praised the activities of those, who agitated for ‘fair rents’ and ‘security of tenure in their farms’. Raftery spent some months in Galway jail according to Douglas Hyde (Dúghlas de hÍde) likely for his composition of this poem. Hyde collected the song Na Buachaillí Bána in County Mayo in 1903 and published it as a song ascribed to Antaine Ó Raifteirí. The song had never before been written down because it would have been too dangerous. Dúghlas de hÍde records that the tree used as a gallows in Castlebar was still standing in 1903, but by the 1930s it had been uprooted by a storm.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian Hennessey, IrishPage.com September 2005
Gaeilge ó Ciarán Ó Coigligh, Dungalgan Press 2000.
Béarla le Proinsias Osborne
The gallows tree used by High Sheriff, Denis Browne at Castlebar is not the one shown above.
The music for this poem is not available.
Replay background music: Dromore.mid. which is a substitution.


Filleadh go liosta
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