Michael Kearns - Sligo Poets

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Sligo Champion 5 September 1914


Success attend those gallant men,
    The Irish Volunteers,
They rise once more on Erin’s shore
    To aid our hopes and fears;
In bygone days, ’neath freedom’s rays,
    They were our country’s pride,
They nobly stood and shed their blood
    By Erin’s hallowed side.

Oh! Redmond, dear, you never fear
    But send the rifles o’er,
Each Irish son with sword and gun
    Will guard green Erin’s shore;
The North and South, the East and West,
    In unity and pride,
As brothers all, we’ll stand or fall
    By Erin’s hallowed side.

When Erin’s sons will get the guns
    The enemy we’ll rout,
And, as of yore, we’ll guard our shore
    And keep the Germans out;
With arms strong we’ll march along
    With Redmond as our guide,
And now we’ll stand one gallant band
    By Erin’s hallowed side.

Home Rule is won, now freedom’s sun
    Illumines our native hills,
And songs of joy are murmured by
    The rippling Irish rills.
Yes, freedom’s smile illumines our isle,
    Proclaim it far and wide,
So now we’ll stand by thee, dear land,
    Green Erin’s hallowed side.

                         MICHAEL J. KEARNS.
Geevagh, Co. Sligo.

Sligo Champion 26 December 1914
  Sligo’s Christmas Greeting.

            TO HER EXILES.

Take our country’s kindest greeting,
     To your homes far, far away;
May contentment, breathing pleasure,
     Crown you on sweet Christmas Day.
Dear old “Champion” bear a message
     From this land of love and song;
Bear it to our honoured exiles,
     Now estranged, but not for long.

Bring glad tidings o’er the ocean
     To our distant friends and true;
To the sons of Mother Erin
     Who have fought her battles through.
Tell them of the change in Erin,
     That the Home Rule Bill is passed,
That the dreary night is ended,
     And the dawn has come at last.

The glorious dawn of freedom
     Now illumines the green hillside,
Where centuries ago
     Brave Martyrs nobly died.
For loving dear old Ireland,
     That was their only crime,
They died upon the scaffold high,
     In manhood’s early prime.

O, Irishmen, brave patriots,
     Who dwell beyond the sea,
Come back to dear old Ireland,
     Your native land to free.
In College Green soon will be seen
     Our leaders brave once more,
To legislate for Irishmen,
     As in the days of yore.


These two poems are undoubtedly by the same author, the well-know Sligo poet Michael J. Kearns (1886-1967) a Geevagh native who lived in Glasgow but returned to Sligo in 1914. Some lines are almost identical in both poems:

"Home Rule is won, now freedom’s sun
   Illumines our native hills,"


"The glorious dawn of freedom
    Now illumines the green hillside,"

Both show his facility with rhythm and rhyme but the language in bith poems is full of the standard vocabulary of such patriotic poetry and song.

The Sligo Champion published his "Geevagh Road" in 1912 and "St. James' Well" in 1913.

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