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A sad poem relating to Portumna and the times of the Famine.

Marie Nash


In the gay years of my boyhood
One day I rambled down
Along the crumbling Old Street
of Portumna ancient town

A poor old woman met me,
She was withered lame and grey,
and as she struggled forward
she kept muttering away

I asked her for her history
and the favour of her name
if she was born here about
if not, from whence she came

A ray of light shot from her eyes
Like lightnings vivid flash
as she answered without pausing
Saying my name is Marie Nash

5 Since the gallant sons of Redmond
Burke spread desolation around
very ancestors were reared up here
on a small bit of ground

But as the clansmen of Clanrichard
took part in many a fray.
From the soul at Castlelat
back to Kinsale’s Red Bay.

Bound by the ties of friendship
ah: for a bit of land
They fought against cruel Saxon
At the chieftains dire command.

Poor slaves in a plantation
fierce war dogs on their lease
They killed and fought just as
They would, said poor old Marie Nash

But when the war years were over
Then Clanrichard claimed
that land bought by the blood and sweat
a tribute which he named

For England’s laws gave him that right
to make the tenants at his will
as they improved the stubborn soil
the rent was raised until
at length in my fathers life time
On a cold Novembers Day
the Sheriff stood before the door
and says come quit or pay

None of your whimpering blarney now
Come fork me out the cash
that day they tore out roof – tree down
says poor old Marie Nash

My father and my mother in the
Union workhouse died
They are resting in the new churchyard
their graves are side by side

To uphold the right of England
by Alma’s flashing wave
my noble brother died
I shall never see his grave

Twas not for love of England’s flag
that day of hateful strife
when high on basbians rugged cliff
he risked his limbs for life

Twas hungers pinch made him enlist
Oh God his ache was rash
Twas better for he starved at home
Says poor old Marie Nash

Now after years of work and want
A worn out beggar I
shall enter soon the workhouse
and a paupers death to die

But Darcy Bob and Matthew Burke
and the most noble Ulick John
to answer for their wickedness
before God’s throne are gone

and when the book was opened
they were asked I’m very sure
to explain their noble robberies
and oppressions of the foot

The verdict then recorded
which no earthly court can quash
for Clanrichard had no interest there
says poor old Marie Nash

So lonely now and homeless
are the broad fields of Gortrea
while Claggernagh and Thornfield are desolate as they
undisturbed the graziers bullocks sleep
Mid the ruined walls of Drumscar
altho’ a few homes still survive
midst the hills of Attygar

The older clan is going now
and ah; ’tis almost gone
the emigrant ship and workhouse
and that work too surely done
but on the fearful final day
mid fire and thunders crash
God shall avenge the ruined homes
say poor old Marie Nash

Another Marie Nash tale
When I grew, in our house it was always a test of your pronunciation

Marie Nash had seven asses drawing ashes out of Marie Nashes ash hole.

Say that fast!!!