Paddy Kettle - Sligo Poets

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1916 > Sligo Poetry 1916 > Sligo Champion

Sligo Champion
1 January 1916.

Included in London Notes.

from PADDY (After Mr. Kipling)

It is true that men of all nationalities have played a noble part in the war against German aggression. So, also, have Irishmen. Professor T. M. Kettle placed his views on record in the lines−

We ain’t no saints or scholars much, but fightin’ men and clean;
We’ve paid the price, and three times three, for “Wearing o' the Green”.
We held our hand out frank and fair, and half forgot Parnell,
For Ireland’s hope and England’s too-and it’s yours to save or sell.

For it’s Paddy this, and Paddy that−“Who’ll stop the Uhlan blade”
But Tommy Fitz from Malahide, and Monaghan's McGlade?
When the ranks are set for judgment, lads, and the roses droop and fade,
It’s “Ireland in the firin’ line when the price of God is paid.”

-from “The Saturday Post.”

Thomas Michael (Tom) Kettle (1880 –1916) was one of the leading figures in the intellectual of Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century.  

He was an Irish Home Rule politician, economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet and soldier. He was on the board of the Theatre of Ireland with Edward Martyn, Thomas MacDonagh, Patrick Pearse, and others.

He was MP for East Tyrone from 1906 until he resigned in 1910. He was one of the leaders of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and purchased guns for Volunteers in Belgium.

On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Dublin Fusiliers and, because of poor health, toured Ireland as part of recruiting campaigns. He applied to be sent to the  Western Front on active service and with his health slightly improved, he was sent to France.

He was killed in the attack on Ginchy at the battle of the Somme on the Western Front on 9 September 1916.

Kettle's poem, Paddy, was a parody of Rudyard Kipling's 1892 poem, Tommy. Paddy was published in Battle Songs For The Irish Brigades, Edited by Stephen Gwynn And T M Kettle, published in 1915 by Maunsel & Company, Ltd, Dublin And London.

Verses from Tommy had been published in the Sligo Champion in September 1914. These were taken from the Daily Chronicle where, presumably, the poem was first published.

Tom Kettle took part in the tour of County Sligo by the band of the Connaught Rangers, 12-17 June 1915. Two meetings were held in Sligo on Saturday, at 12 noon and at 8 pm at which Kettle was one of the speakers. Meetings were also held at Maugherow, Grange, Cliffony, Rathcormack, Riverstown, Geevagh, Ballymote, Tubbercurry, Gurteen, Coolaney, Collooney, Ballisodare, Dromore West, Easkey and Enniscrone. "The results as regards as enlisting farmers’ sons was disappointing but as usual men were forthcoming from the towns", the RIC County Inspector said.

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