Kelly the Boy from Killan

What’s the news, what’s the news, oh my bold Shelmalier

With your long barrelled gun of the sea?

Say what wind from the south blows his messenger here

With a hymn of the dawn for the free

Goodly news, goodly news, do I bring youth of forth

Goodly news shall you hear, Bargy man

For the boys march at morn from the south to the north

Led by Kelly the boy from Killan


Tell me who is that giant with gold curling hair

He who rides at the head of your band?

Seven feet is his height, with some inches to spare

And he looks like a king in command

Ah my lads that’s the pride of the bold chevaliers

‘Mong our greatest of heroes, a man!

Fling your beavers aloft and give three ringing cheers

For John Kelly, the boy from Killan


Enniscorthy’s in flames, and old Wexford is won

And the Barrow tomorrow we cross

On ahill o’er the town we have planted a gun

That will batter the gateway of Ross

All the Forth men and Bargy men march o’er the heath

With brave Harvey to lead on the van

But the foremost of all in the grim Gap of Death

Will be Kelly, the boy from Killan


But the gold sun of freedom grew darkened at Ross

And it set by the Slaneys red waves

And poor Wexford stript naked hung high on a cross

And her heart pierce by traitors and slaves

Glory O! Glory O! to her brave sons who died

For the cause of long down-trodden man!

Glory O! to Mount Leinster’s own darling and pride

Dauntless Kelly, the boy from Killan.


This famous ballad / marching song was written by Patrick Joseph McCall (1861-1919).

A video of the late Luke Kelly singing the song is available here.

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