Kilbrin National School

Scoil Eoin Baiste

(Kilbrin National School)


School Memories

The Height Of Old Kilbrin

Who Will Replace Him

April Days

The Battle Of Knocknanuss 1647

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I love to be back on the winding old road
That runs through the hills of my childhood abode
Where the vale of Blackwater with splendour aglow
Unfolds a great carpet of welcome below.
There in the shadows for life we prepared,
Our troubles confronted, our small triumphs shared
With parents so loving, so generous and kind
To nurture and shape the awakening mind.
And Nan by the window with prospect to view
Kilbrin, Castlemagner and distant Gortroe.

The heart-lifting landmark, in my secret code,
That first symbolises my ‘home again’ road
Is the ivy-clad stone Castlecor famine wall
Conjoining The Grotto to ruined Greenhall.
Oh the wild surge of freedom returning from school!
And the magic of toes in a gravelly pool;
By the Cottoner’s Hill, leafy-vaulted and steep
All the joys of plain childhood forever will keep.
So pleasing to trace other times we have known
When morning sun lingers on shingle and stone.

That last haunted mile, ever burdened with themes
Of storied events that can pattern dreams,
Is the lamp in the window alluring me home,
And the youthful temptation that called me to roam.
Buckleys, Corkerys, Kielys and Hayes still reign
The lords of this constant familiar demesne;
All earnest, as always, with life’s merry spin
From classroom to crypt on the Height of Kilbrin
The fledgling in flight from the parental nest
Discovers right quickly that old friends are best.

Sometimes, when alone on a wave-rippled shore
Or crowded in dense metropolitan roar,
I ponder what hazard of failing or flair
Determined my journey from cradle to there.
Though I‘ve lived in great cities romantic and grand
And wandered the sights of my own native land.
No marvel or joy that their grandeur bestowed,
Could compare with my own Ballygraddy New Road.
The place where we first loved we ever hold dear,
A harbour secure in life’s wondrous career.

(Denis O’Donoghue)

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To stroll again, down Kennely Hill,

with pencil, pen and rule,

and listen to the Blackbird sing,

on the way to Curraghs School.

Yes in Dreamland, I travel back,

as if time stood still,

to my childhood days in Curraghs,

at the old school on the hill.

With the O’Briens, Mullanes and Cliffords,

Fitzes and Aherns too,

among the many school mates,

they are just a few.

The games we played together,

when our hearts were young and light.

May God bless those who taught us,

to learn to read and write.

(Danny Ahern)

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It was long ago I parted from my own dear native home.

In searching for a living, far away I had to roam.

Away from friends and neighbours that I often met with when,

My childhood days were cradled on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

On the day that I departed, just before I had to go,

I looked down from the crossroads there to the lovely scene below.

The homely tree-clad houses, and the kindly folk therein,

I wished them all Good Fortune on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

As I gazed across the meadows where I rambled since a boy.

I marked the sunlit places where the sporting hare would lie.

The hollows under furzy banks where the sly fox made his den;

And eluded The Duhallows on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

My memory still brings visions of those youthful days now gone,

Of golden summer evenings and the clashing wild caman.

The raking boul that hugged the road and made the stoneway ring,

And the bell for Benediction on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

Often times, I get so weary of the grey streets and the town;

I go to greet and grassy hills where tumbling streams come down.

And the lonely curlew calling in a dark and leafy glen,

Is a echo of my childhood days on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

Well my journey is nearly over and soon I will go home.

I think about the young ones who are still inclined to roam.

Sweet bird of youth ascending, I hope that you will win,

And find the dreams that you cherished on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

Oh! I love the old road winding, to my native place so high.

My beacon bright, that calls me home, between the fields and sky.

And when my restless body’s stilled, and I go to earth again,

Please God I’ll lay with kindred clay on the Height of Old Kilbrin.

(Denis O’Donoghue)

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If a priest preaches over 10 minutes, he's longwinded.

If his sermon is short, he didn't prepare it.

If the parish funds are high, he's a businessman.

If he mentions money, he's money-mad.

If he visits his parishioners, he's nosey.

If he doesn't, he's being snobbish.

If he has fairs and bazaars, he's bleeding the people.

If he doesn't, there isn't any life in the Parish.

If he takes time in confession to help and advise the sinners,

he takes too long.

If he doesn't, he doesn’t care.

If he celebrates liturgy in a quiet voice, he's boring.

If he puts feeling into it, he's an actor.

If he starts Mass on time, his watch is fast.

If he starts late, he's holding up the people.

If he tries to lead the people in music, he's showing off.

If he doesn’t, he doesn’t care what Mass is like.

If he decorates the church, he's wasting money.

If he doesn't, he's letting it run down.

If he's young, he's inexperienced.

If he's old, he ought to retire.

But if he dies...

There may be no one to replace him.

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Where is he now my school·boy pal?

His friendly grin, his wind-blown hair

If he and I were not to meet

I should not find my play-mate there


The merry jig the lilting reel

With zest the fiddler plays his bow

As round and round the dancers wheel

With measured touch of heel and toe


But we can meet in memory’s shelves

The record files of days we knew

We see the Master at his desk

His stout persuasive rod in view


More precious were the hours we spent

When basking by the sunny stream

We planned for all the years to be ,

And dreamed as only boys can dream


The Master’s voice imperious rise

Above the hum of school and class

We watch the clock upon the wall

We count the hours that slowly pass


No quarrel did our friendship mar

Together far and wide to roam

Strange skies were beckoning from afar

To lure us from the skies of home


Foreboding what each task ensue

Strange names, strange places on the map

Yet, we tremble on a problem sum

When reading, where to pause and stop


The pans of boys are built on dreams

The fates decreed our separate ways

They never were to meet, or merge

From April to December days


How treasured were those care-free days

Shed ofthe cares of school and home

To pass the sunny hours away

On bare-foot paths we loved to roam


'Twas his to tend his fathers fields

'Twas mine, in distant lands to roam

A lone wild goose whose wings have know

No skies more fair, than those of home


By thorny ways, by ferny trails

Oh; blessed release no sums to do

Our joys and sorrows we could share

For April and her sorrows too


How fares he now my April pal

His friendly grin his wind-blown hair

If he and I were now to meet

I should not find my play-mate there


Lif`e’s morning had its sorrows too

The years were lean and scant the fare

We shared the glooms that filled the school

We lived the joys there were to share


The grin is lost in wrinkled age

His wind-blown hair a crown of snow

How vain to look for April -when—

The cold winds of December blow


The Lacca robed in golden gorse

The old grey bridge in ivy green

The limpid Allow runs below

To shimmering pools, in silver share


And my wild wings are weary grown

They pine and droop beside the gate

Whence all must take the last lone flight

And lo; the sands are running late


The pastoral quiet of chequered fields

The daisy spangled meadows gay

The distant coos of woodland dove

The lark poured down his gushing lay


But we can meet in memories shelves

Where April fields are green and fair

Youths’ phantom haunt, the scenes they loved

My April buddy waits me there


Beside shady sycamore

On Sundays they came to dance

Sat stalwart youths and maids galore

With modest mein and shy of glance


We live again our April days

We seek the ripening crab and sloe

We frolic on the ferry wastes

The rabbit trails that come and go

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A maiden coy beside the stage

Reject the pleadings of a swain

Half wishing, she may not succeed

Half hoping, he may plead again


We plan for all the years to be

While basking by the sunny stream

We steal from time an April hour

And dream, as only age can dream

(John W. Kelleher)

The Battle Of Knocknanuss 1647

From the walls of Moyallo, Morrogh set forth,

And his henchmen looked fierce as they marched to the North.

"They wait on the Hill where once roamed the fleet fawn

But we’ll meet them tomorrow - and soon after dawn

They’ll be fleeing in disorder" - he laughed in fierce glee,

"With Lord Taaffe in the vanguard by grey Lackaleigh".

Their banners waved proud, and they made a great din

As they marched to the North, led by Lord lnchiquin,

They halted at noon by the sedgy Finnow,

Where the tall Norman Castle stands grim neath the brow

Of the hill whereon nestles the town of the stones,

Ballyclough, through whose woodlands the winter wind moans.

And the peasants in fear from their hovels did flee

And they hid in the forests that cover Rathnee.

"Tis O’Brien of the burnings", they fearfully cried,

For the fame of Black Morrogh has spread far and wide.

They rested an hour; then they marched o’er the bluff,

And they faced to the North, till they reached Garryduff,

Where they camped on the hillside, their fires burning bright,

And they posted strong sentries on guard for the night.

And they saw camp fires blazing on Steep Knocknanuss,

And they knew Lord Taaffe’s soldiers were making a rush

To dig trenches, and working in haste through the night.

For when grey morning dawned they would start the grim fight.

ln England at this time, two factions were fighting,

And over the fair land, the war fires were lighting.

For Charles the faithless fell foul of his Council.

And when wise men advised, he’d have none of their counsel.

So the Commons of England defied their proud master

And Charles the Stuart led his house to disaster.

For Cromwell against him, led Puritan Roundheads,

And on high shameful scaffold, the Stuart lost his proud head.

But Ireland, poor Ireland, was always a shambles,

When the Statesmen of England were playing the gambles.

And Lord Inchiquin was now Cromwell’s proud henchman.

But if paid well enough, he’d be Dutchman or Frenchman.

While Lord Taaffe for the Stuart, his legions was leading

And the Irish, so witless, so brave and unheeding

Were fighting on both sides, and brother slew brother,

One fighting for Cromwell, for Charles, the other.

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