Aileen Barry Oge

Where the Brinny swiftly flowing meets the Bandon’s rapid tide,

The water, ere they mingle, wash the castle’s rugged side,

Whose ivied walls and ruined tower, still beautiful and grand,

Are sad remants of the greatness of our once proud native land.

 

Three hundred years have passed away since Barry Oge did dwell,

In his castle at Dundaniel, ‘mid the scenes he loved so well,

This his little daughter Aileen, his darling and his pride,

No fairer maid than she was thee in all that countryside.

 

Full many a high-born suitor came, whose castle and broad land

He’d lay with joy at Aileen’s feet, if honoured with her hand;

But there was one she better loved than any of that throng,

For hand and heart she long had pledged to Roch of Poulnalong.

 

And oft when night was closing on the burning Summer’s day,

From the shadow of his Castle’s wall his bark would speed away,

Nor stayed his oar, nor stopped his hand, till one feeble ray of light,

Shot out from Aileen’s window to guide him through the night.

 

But McCarthy Reagh, Kilgobbin’s lord, the lady too, did claim,

And to him as to the others Barry Oge replied the same:

“The Chief who win’s my daughter must bear the palm away,

From all the rivals for the prize on our next Lady’s Day.

 

The day has come which shall decide whose bride will Aileen be,

And by the Bandon’s pleasant stream the sight was fair to see.

For he who plucks the scarlet rose which grows on yonder tower,

Will call Aileen Barry Oge his own before another hour.

 

The proudest five of Munster’s Chiefs are climbing high the wall,

But ere one-third its height is passed young Roch outstrips them all,

For love has nerved his arm and eye as he scales the dizzy height,

And now his hand has put forth to pluck the rose so bright.

 

But cruel fate has ordered that his touch it ne’er shall fell,

One loving glance at Aileen, and his fearful brain doth reel.

The treacherous stone has given way whereon his foot had stood,

And his mangled body plunges in the river’s rapid flood.

 

On Aileen’s face no smile was seen since Roch sank ‘neath the wave,

She joined him ere a twelve month in the land beyond the grave,

And when another week its course o’er Barry Oge had sped,

He was gathered to his fathers in their home among the dead.