A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"A Ballad of Galway" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
From: The Four Winds of Eirinn: Poems by Ethna Carbery. (Anna MacManus.), Complete Edition, Edited by Seumas MacManus. Dublin, Ireland: M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd. 1906. pp. 139-141.

Editor: Mary Mark 

[Page 139] 


The market place is all astir,
   The sombre streets are gay,
And lo! a stately galleon
   Lies anchored in the Bay–
The colleens shy, and sturdy lads,
   Are swiftly trooping down,
To greet the Spanish sailors
   On the quay of Galway Town.

But Nora–golden Nora–
   What matters it to you?
There's joy–long time a stranger–
   In those gentle eyes of blue;
And wherefore deck your ringlets,
   And don your silken gown,
For a crew of Spanish sailors
   That stroll through Galway Town?

Said Nora–golden Nora–
   And her laughter held a tear,
"I don my silk and laces
   Because my love is near–
Among the Spanish crew is one
   Should wear a kingly crown–
Although he walks a landless man,
   To-day, through Galway town.

[Page 140] 

"Look forth! see yond his dusky head
   Tower high above the throng.
Oh brave is he, and true is he,
   And so my lips have song;
For he's no Spanish sailor,
   Though he wears the jerkin brown–
But Murrough Og O'Flaherty,
   Come back to Galway Town.

"He fought in Spain's red sieges,
   And holds a Captain's place,
Ah! would his arm were raised to strike
   In battles of his race!
But his boyhood saw with bitter grief
   Iar-Connacht lose renown,
When the Saxon crushed his valiant clan
   In the streets of Galway Town.

"To-night will be our wedding–
   With a holy priest to bless–
Shall we remember Cromwell's law
   Amid such happiness?
While my true love's arm is round me,
   Should they come with fighting frown,
His sword shall cleave a pathway
   For his bride through Galway Town."

Then up the street stepped Murrough,
   And down stepped Nora Bán,
Had ever sailor fairer love–
   Sweet, sweet as summer dawn?
Their glad lips clung together–
   "Such bliss old grief must drown:
God guard the faithful lovers,"
   Prayed we in Galway Town.

[Page 141] 

Oh, far across the water
   The good ship's speeding now,
And Murrough Og O'Flaherty
   Stands tall beside the prow;
And Nora–golden Nora–
   A bride in silken gown–
Hath sailed away for ever
   From her kin in Galway Town.


Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom