“By Memory Inspired”


"By Memory inspired And love of country fired, The deeds of Men I love to dwell upon... Here's a memory to the friends that are gone. O'Connell, William Orr, John Mitchel, McCann, John and Henry Sheares, Maguire, Emmet, and others are recalled


Among those mentioned in versions of this song:

O'Connell: Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), who tried to convince the British to reform administration of Ireland and who was the leading figure on behalf of Catholic Emancipation. (For his history, see the many songs cited in the cross-references to )"Daniel O'Connell (I).")

John Mitchel - One of the 1848 rebels. (For his history, see "John Mitchel").

Emmet - Robert Emmet (1778-1803), for whom see "Bold Robert Emmet." - RBW

Moylan adds information for those mentioned in the song:

"Edward" Lord Edward Fitzgerald's capture is cited here, but in less detail than in "Edward" (III)

William Orr - Farmer, arrested in September 1796, charged with administering the United Irish oath, and executed October 14, 1797. His death inspired a well-known poem by William Drennan, "The Wake of William Orr," which also is found in this Index though I'm none too sure it's traditional.

Thomas Reynolds - member of the Leinster Directory of the United Irishmen turned informer.

John McCann, Bond and William Byrne - Among the members of the United Irish leadership taken in a raid based on Reynold's information.

The Sheares brothers - members of the new National Directory set up to replace the one destroyed by the raid based on Reynold's information.

Fr Thomas Maguire - parish priest who engaged in a public debate on theological matters in 1827. His poisoning, mentioned in the ballad, took place in 1847.

The ballad is recorded on one of the CD's issued around the time of the bicentenial of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. See:

Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "By Memory Inspired" (on Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "1798 the First Year of Liberty," Hummingbird Records HBCD0014 (1998)) - BS

Cross references


  1. PGalvin. pp. 101-102, "By Memory Inspired" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Moylan 163, "By Memory Inspired" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, PGa101


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1962
Found in: Ireland