Thomas MacDonagh

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MacDonagh, originally uploaded by CelticWander.

Thomas McDonagh was a teacher/poet who was also one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.

I don’t know if their may be blood between us, as I come from McDonough. It is possible. I like to claim his, anyway. You can read more about Thomas and the 1916 Rising, here and here.

Below are the lyrics to the song The Foggy Dew. A memorial to the men who died as a result of the 1916 Easter Rising. Here is more info about the song.

The Foggy Dew

words and music by Father P. O’Neill

‘Twas down the glen one Easter morn
To a city fair rode I.
When armed line of marching men
In squadrons passed me by.
No pipes did hum, no battle drum
Did sound its loud tattoo
But the Angelus bell o’er the Liffey’s swell
Rang out in the foggy dew.

Right proudly high over Dublin town
They hung out a flag of war.
‘Twas better to die ‘neath an Irish sky
Than at Suvla or Sud el Bar.
And from the plains of Royal Meath
Strong men came hurrying through;
While Brittania’s huns with their great big guns
Sailed in through the foggy dew.

O’ the night fell black and the rifles’ crack
Made “Perfidious Abion” reel
‘Mid the leaden rail, seven tongues of flame
Did shine o’er the lines of steel.
By each shining blade a prayer was siad
That to Ireland her sons be true,
And when morning broke still the war flag shook
Out its fold in the foggy dew

‘Twas England bade our wild geese go
That small nations might be free.
But their lonely graves are by Suvla’s waves
On the fringe of the gray North Sea.
But had they died by Pearse’s side
Or fought with Cathal Brugha,
Their names we’d keep where the Fenians sleep
‘Neath the shroud of the foggy dew.

The bravest fell, and the solemn bell
Rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Watertide
In the springing of the year.
And the world did gaze with deep amaze
At those fearless men, but few
Who bore the fight that freedom’s light
Might shine through the foggy dew.

Ah, back through the glen I rode again
and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men
whom I never shall see more.
But to and fro in my dreams I go and
I’d kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, when
you fell in the foggy dew.


4 thoughts on “Thomas MacDonagh

  1. Muriel says:

    Your blog caught my attention because of the entry about Thomas MacDonagh, who was my grandfather. He was born in Cloughjordan in Co. Tipperary and his parents were both teachers, who were invited to the town to open a National School. His father came (I think) from the Mayo area, and I have been told that Thomas’s granfather had been a hedgeschool teacher. Do you know what that was?

  2. Dylan says:

    Hmm. My great grandfather. I say this with, of course, some pride. However, that pride is short lived. It possibly would not be there if he had not done something so worth recounting and it is not something I myself am in anyway responsible for. So, perhaps it is better to view it as a piece of my blood which is capable of some greatness or immortality through memory. Anyway. Clearly, I just wanted to write anything here and have no other purpose.

  3. Wow! My great-grandfather was Thomas’ cousin! Now I’m a teacher, writer and committed activist. Must be in the blood. Viva la revolucion!

    Thanks for making this post and it’s great to meet you both!

    Terry MacDonagh

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