Michael Dwyer (a song about his escape from St. Kevin's Bed)

Michael Dwyer
Public Domain Image
St Kevin's Bed
© Oliver Dixon

The following song is taken from the Dúchas Schools’ Collection.

To  view the original text and transcriptions please click here.

Michael Dwyer


The following song was taken down from Mrs Molyneux, Rustyduff, Knockanargan, who was formerly a Miss Dwyer, Slieveray, (sic – Slievereagh) Rathdangan, Co Wicklow. She is a young woman, and heard this song from her mother.

She remarked to me that Whelans of Carrignameela, and Dwyers of Slieveray are the only families having this song about Dwyer.

Come all you sons of Erin’s Isle
There is none can help admire
This gallant stand for liberty
Made by brave Michael Dwyer

He fought for life at Glendalough,
Where-in these lines shall tell
Where at his hand two soldiers
And a base informer fell

He faced the hills for Glenmalure
And quickly made his way
And in St Kevin’s rocky Bed
For weeks he safely lay

At once he was well attended to
In that dark and lonely den
And often times he ventured
For a ramble through the glen

‘Till word had reached his enemy
Before the morning dawn
The soldiers and the yeomen
Arrived at Derrybawn

Across those steps and rugged paths
They quickly made their way
And then the bribed informer
Showed the place where Dwyer lay

A flash of fire, a puff of smoke
Came from the rock, outside report
Rang out and instantly
The traitor was shot dead

It was there his lifeless body lay
Upon that lonely shore
It was sweet revenge for Dwyer to know
He would trace his steps no more

For hours the bullets struck the rocks
And rolled into the Bed
Until the soldiers felt assured
This rebel chief was dead

Two of the soldiers swam the lake
And climbed into the Bed
To bring that riddled body
Over the deep and dark blue wave

But when they reached the gloomy height
And finding their dismay
And finding that alive and well
The undaunted rebel lay

They made a plunge to capture him
But each received a blow
Which sent their lifeless bodies
To a watery grave below

His enemies, to capture him
One effort more did make
And from a neighbouring wood, close by
Some timber they conveyed

They made a raft across the lake
And waited till night fell o’er the Glen
And as they pushed their way across
Young Dwyer dropped from his den


ARCHIVAL REFERENCE: The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0914, Page 489

© National Folklore Collection, UCD

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