Corcoran and Flannery - Sligo Poets

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    Sligo Nationalist 20 September 1913

A New Song on the Unveiling of the
Corcoran and Flannery Monument, Monasteraden.

Attend you sons of Erin’s Isle, and listen
     to my song,
Until I relate a verse of two—I won’t detain
     you long,
Concerning those brave heroes who for
     their country
Were shot by some cruel hand which
     proved their destiny.

’Twas when a process-server, thirty years
Came to serve ejectments, they met their
By some unknown hand those martyrs met
     their doom,—
They were cut down in the prime of life in
     their youth and bloom.

Their names were Corcoran and Flannery,
     as you may plainly know,
They died for their country, for they loved
     its tranquil shore.
When cruel agents and bad landlords invested
     our Green Isle,
And by their wicked hands our sons were
     forced for to exile.

Now, to those true and martyred sons,
     whose souls are in Heaven
We have erected a monument in dear old
Assemble you sons of Erin’s Isle wherever
     you reside,
And "true men, like you, men, remember
     them with pride."

Long life to brave John Dillon! he did his
     part so grand,
Along with John O’Dowd he boldly took
     his stand
For to unveil a monument to those true and
     martyred souls,
Who laid down their lives for their native land,
     God rest them evermore.

The unveiling of their monument was grand for
     to behold,
To see the sons of Erin’s Isle with banners of
     green and gold
They were the men of Sligo, Roscommon,
     and Mayo,
Assembled in their thousands their love now
     for to show.

Now, to conclude and finish, I have no more
     to say;
That the Lord have mercy on their souls, good
     Christians for them pray,
May God above show them His love for all
Before you’ll go away I hope you’ll pray for
     Corcoran and Flannery.


This ballad marks the unveiling of a monument at
Clogher, Monastereden, Co. Sligo was unveiled by John Dillon, M.P. on August 31st 1913. The inscription reads:

Erected to the memory of Joseph Corcoran and Bryan Flannery, who, while defending with other brave men and heroic women of this district, their hearths and homes against landlord oppression, were shot by police and process server, April 2nd 1881

On 2 April 1881, during the land war,
James Broder, the local process server was serving notices on tenants on the property of the landlord Arthur Ffrench at Clogher, Monasteraden. He was assisted by a small force of four R.I.C. policemen. They were met by a group of men, women and children. Stones were thrown at the police who opened fire and killed Corcoran and Flannery. The crowd then attacked the police and Sergeant Armstrong was killed.

A fuller version of the story here.

Below: A picture from the Roscommon Herald of the unveiling of the monument by Irish Parliamentary Party M.P. John Dillon.


This ballad, by an anonymous versifier, is very much a standard Irish ballad with little skill or added interest. It starts with the usual appeal to listeners and a promise of brevity - in this case the promise is kept. The rhymes are awkward and many involve inversions of language and stretched pronouncation. It ends with a  call for prayers for the dead.

It lack details of the events mentioned, the kind of details which enliven many such songs and poems. It also refuses to make any comment on the politics of the times with the blame for the deaths laid at the door of the old land system and the characters involved rather than the English government.

A nice touch is the quotation from a very well-known Irish patriotic poem/song The Memory Of The Dead by John Kelly Ingram, sometimes known by its first line Who fears to speak of Ninety-Eight?. The borrowing is suitably acknowledged in print by quotation marks.

This page which has more details on the events also has a modern ballad on the affair by Fred Finn which contains many more details than this one.

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