DESCRIPTION: "At Boulavogue, as the sun was setting... A rebel hand set the heather blazing And brought the neighbors from far and near." Father Murphy's rebels for a time defeat the English, but at last are defeated and Murphy executed
AUTHOR: P. J. McCall (1861-1919) (Source: Zimmerman-SongsOfIrishRebellion)
EARLIEST DATE: 1898 ("First printed in the _Irish Weekly Independent_, 18th June, 1898," according to Zimmerman-SongsOfIrishRebellion)
KEYWORDS: rebellion Ireland death clergy execution
May 26, 1798 - Beginning of the Wexford rebellion
May 27, 1798 - The Wexford rebels under Father John Murphy defeat the North Cork militia
June 5, 1798 - The Wexford rebels attack the small garrison (about 1400 men, many militia) at New Ross, but are repelled
June 21, 1798 - The rebel stronghold a Vinegar Hill is taken, and the Wexford rebellion effectively ended
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Galvin-IrishSongsOfResistance, pp. 28-29, "Boulavogue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Zimmerman-SongsOfIrishRebellion 90, "Father Murphy of the County Wexford" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Moylan-TheAgeOfRevolution-1776-1815 58, "Boolavogue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Behan-IrelandSings, #9, "Boolavogue" (1 text, 1 tune, a modified version of the "Come All You Warriors" text perhaps used by McCall as a source)
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "Boulavogue" (on IRClancyMakem03)
Davie Stewart, "Boulavogue" (on Voice08)
cf. "Father Murphy (I)" (subject of Father Murphy) and references there
NOTES [420 words]: Zimmerman-SongsOfIrishRebellion pp. 65: "The ceremonies marking the centenary of the 1798 rebellion brought out a new flow of ballads, (the best was song [Zimmermann] 90)"
Zimmerman-SongsOfIrishRebellion 90: "P.J. McCall most probably found the inspiration for this song in the old ballads "Come all you warriors" and "Some treat of David" (Songs [Zimmermann] 10 and 11), though he never borrowed more than half-a-line at a time." - BS
Behan-IrelandSings considers the source ""Come All You Warriors" to be the work of Myles Byrne.
Boulavogue is a small town in County Wexford.
Although many parts of Ireland rose in rebellion in 1798, the revolts were uncoordinated and much too late; the leaders of the rebellion, for the most part, were already in British hands (the British authorities arrested most leaders of the United Irishmen in March 1798; the last major leader, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, was taken into custody, mortally wounded, on May 19. For more about him, see the notes to "Edward (III) (Edward Fitzgerald)").
The Irish had been waiting for foreign help, but it was not forthcoming (for the Bantry Bay fiasco and the Battle of Camperdown, see the notes on "The Shan Van Vogt").
What was left of the organization (which wasn't much, really; with the leaders gone, there was no way to coordinate a rebellion) decided to proceed with their planned attack Dublin on May 23. The idea was to pin down the British leaders. Unfortunately, the United Irishmen had nothing left in Dublin; all the forces there were dispersed.
In Ulster, rebellion did break out, but it was so uncoordinated that it really amounted to little more than rioting (with absolutely no coordination between Irish Catholics and Protestants, whose distrust of each other was heightened by events in Wexford), and was quickly put down.
As a result, only the Wexford uprising had any success. Led by the "Croppy Priest," Father John Murphy (for whom see especially "Father Murphy (I)"), the Catholics killed hundreds of Protestants at Vinegar Hill and other places and forced the English (who were already engaged in pacifying the county, as they feared a French invasion) to gather real forces to defeat them. But defeat them she did, with much violence -- and though the English government disclaimed the violence and offered more liberal terms, it was the violence that the Irish remembered.
The British, now led by Cornwallis, proceeded to offer generous amnesties -- only to have the French finally invade! (See "The Men of the West") - RBW
Last updated in version 3.2
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 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.