Mai King O‘Brien
The Workhouse Tuam –
Outside those gloomy walls,
The Famine victims died in fever and in pain.
The golden grain that spring from Irish soil
Was not for them, for they were slaves,
And by their masters doomed to perish so.
In anguish and in woe,
Now for their souls we pray:
Rest and refreshment, light and holy peace,
Upon this April Day.
Within those walls so grim a spot is marked,
And from His Cross the pitying Christ looks down
Where six men stood to gain the patriot’s crown
Eager and young were they,
Holding their dream until the last,
Until the volley rang, and in their blood they lay.
Bravely they died in manhood’s pride,
Upon that April Day.
Oh, lay the flowers of spring upon that hallowed spot,
Flowers for their dream and for their young lives given
Prayers to the Captain, Christ
Who died on Calvary’s Hill.
That He receive their souls today in Heaven.
Now, not in anger or revenge do we look back,
But like unto the Crucified we humbly pray:
‘Father, forgive,’ they know not what they did
Who doomed those six to die
Upon an April Day.
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These were my grandfather’s comrades and friends. He was also in prison with them. His name was Michael Martin from Arghlora near Tuam. When they were finally allowed to bury the bodies- months later- he was one of the pallbearers. I’ll never forget the story.
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