The Banks Along the Irish Rhine

It’s many years since first I saw
The Garavanachs* prod with their oars
And Daly’s rhythm without flaw
Set the stroke for senior fours
Full many a tide has gushed beneath
The bridges on that Amhain Dhu
And many a friend I know now sleeps
Inside the graveyard at Dromrue
But still my thoughts forever race
Back o’er the years to childhood’s time
And hover round my native place
The banks along the Irish Rhine

Lismore – it’s scholars won renown
Roundhill has charms still for me
There’s verdant beauty to be found
Around the castle at Kilbree
The limestone road meanders on
Past fertile fields with loving kine
And Cappoquin lies close upon
The banks along the Irish Rhine

But here I pause – long years ago
A niche in history was carved here
Young Ireland rose and struck a blow
When Ballingarry failed that year
And later poets with zeal aglow
Described each beauty – each out-line
The sylvan scenes mo craoibhin cno,
The banks along the Irish Rhine.

Past Carraig Letch the river wends
Beyond the woodlands of Tourin
Dromana Rock stands sheer and lends
An old-world glory to the scene
To Strancally and Ballintrae
At Youghal it meets the surging brine
A feast of beauty all the way
The banks along the Irish Rhine.

An when life’s journey is nearly o’er
And comes the peace of eventide
Then I’ll go back and tread once more
The paths along the riverside
I’ll live my youthful days again
And, calmly spending life’s decline
I’ll wait my turn and view till then
The banks along the Irish Rhine.

*Strong Dungarven fisherman

William O’Donnell

©2013 The estate of William O’Donnell (Chiswick)

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