Denny Lane: Young Irelander

We promised to make you aware of more of that fine group of patriots of the nineteenth century, the Young Irelanders.

Few people mention Denny Lane who is best remembered as the author of a fine ballad, still sometimes heard sung at sessions today ‘Carrigdhoun’. The words are reproduced below.

Lane was one of the few who was involved in the launch of The Nation, was later arrested, but eventually became successful in his native Cork, becoming a director of the Cork Gas Company.

Fairly recently his papers were discovered in the attic of a grandson. When they are properly researched and published, it is likely that Lane’s name will be properly celebrated, along with those of Davis, Dillon, O’Brien, Duffy, Mitchel and the rest, as a key figure in that period’s struggle for Irish freedom.

It is noteworthy that (in stark contrast with the most recent phase of independence struggle) almost the whole of that select band was highly educated: they were men of letters (the Mitchel women are the only females I am aware of) and a surprising fraction were published poets ; and of course, by far the greater number were Protestants.

Denny Lane‘s song deals with the hundreds of thousands of young Irishmen who, after the Battle of the Boyne, chose voluntary exile to fight under the fleur-de-lys in the army of the Catholic monarch there.


On Carrigdhoun the heath is brown

The clouds are dark over Ardnalee

And many a stream comes rushing down

To swell the angry Owenabwee.

The moaning blast is sweeping fast

Thru’ many a leafless tree

And I’m alone, for he is gone

My hawk is flown, ochone machree !


Soft April showers and bright May flowers

Will bring the summer back again

But will they bring me back the hours

I spent with my brave Domnal then?

‘Tis but a chance, for he’s gone to France

To wear the fleur-de-lis;

But I’ll follow you, my Domhnal dhu

For still I’m true to you, a chroidhe.

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