Bold McDermott Roe
DESCRIPTION: McDermott Roe heads the Roscommon Defenders but is taken, tried and convicted. He is taken to Dublin to hang in spite of his parents' wealth. "To back the poor against the rich with them did not agree, And so McDermott Roe must die in shame and misery"
EARLIEST DATE: 1939 (OLochlainn); c.1867 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 b.10(12)); c.1800? (Zimmermann)
KEYWORDS: battle rebellion trial execution Ireland patriotic
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (4 citations):
OLochlainn 28, "Bold McDermott Roe" (1 text, 1 tune)
Zimmermann 23, "Bold McDermott" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Moylan 43, "Bold McDermott Roe" (1 text, 1 tune)
Healy-OISBv2, pp. 50-51, "(A New Song Called) Bold M'Dermott" (1 text)
ST OLoc028 (Partial)
Bodleian, 2806 b.10(12), "Bold M'Dermott," W. Birmingham (Dublin), c.1867; also Harding B 19(83), "Bold M'Dermott"
NOTES: In the late eighteenth century, as more legitimate Irish nationalists combined to form the United Irishmen, a more extreme branch went on to form the Defenders, devoted to defending Catholicism against the Protestants, notably in Ulster.
The Defenders, though they started mostly by demonstrating against the Protestant Peep o' Day Boys, eventually attacked a group of the latter -- who, though outnumbered, were victorious and eventually turned into the Orange Society.
The precipitating event was the so-called Battle of the Diamond, a riot "won" by the Protestants in September 1795 (see Robert Kee, The Most Distressful Country, being Volume I of The Green Flag, p. 71).
The Defenders, poor and Catholic, continued to grow after this, and the British, with their brilliant ability to always do the wrong thing in Ireland, cracked down ever harder. This song no doubt tells of one of the victims of that oppression -- though one suspects that McDermott Roe was probably guilty of more than just politics; the Defenders engaged in quite a bit of looting and burning.
For another song on the battles between these two groups, see "The Noble Ribbon Boys." For the Battle of the Diamond itself, see "The Battle of the Diamond." - RBW
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.