“Dunlavin Green”


At the time of the 1798 Rebellion, Captain Saunders betrays some of his own men to execution at Dunlavin Green. Some of the martyrs are named and mourned, and Saunders is cursed.


The 1798 rebellion collapsed even before it properly began, and many of the leaders were betrayed (the United Irish leaders were taken in March, and the rebellion did not take place for many months after that).

Captain Saunders led a Yeoman (Irish militia) company, and on May 22, shortly before the actual rebellion, he assembled his men and urged those who were rebels to come forward.

About twenty of the rebels, leaderless and hoping for mercy, revealed themselves. They were arrested and sent to Dunlavin.

Two days later, with rebels threatening the town, a total of 28 rebels (19 of them from Saunders's company) were summarily executed. (This seems to have been both in fear of and as an example to the rebels outside.) Such behavior was against British rules, and was condemned by many even on the English side, but as always, the atrocities were remembered longer than the regrets of the more civilized faction of the Loyalists. - RBW

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

Historical references

  • May 24, 1798 - "Nineteen members of the Saundersgrove corps of yeomen, and nine of the Narraghmores, imprisoned in Dunlavin as United Irish sympathisers, were led out and summarily executed." (source: Moylan)


  1. Hodgart, p. 202, "Dunlavin Green" (1 text)
  2. PGalvin, pp. 94-95, "Dunlavin Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. OLochlainn 53, "Dunlavin Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Zimmermann 9, "Dunlavin Green" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  5. Moylan 55, "Dunlavin Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Roud #3010
  7. BI, Hodg202


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1798 (Zimmermann); 1820 (according to Moylan)
Found in: Ireland