“Michael Boylan”


Boylan, a United man, is taken prisoner to Drogheda June 3. Dan Kelly swears falsely that Boylan had 10,000 at his command "to assist the French invaders as soon as they would land ... and the jury cried out, Boylan you must die by martial laws"


"Michael Boylan" has the form of a gallows-confession except that the condemned man is a hero rather than a criminal. We have the usual farewell to an "aged father" and mother and the final request that "good Christians pray for me."

Moylan's account of the event has Kelly, the informer, enraged by Boylan's defection: Boylan was supposed to lead the pikemen to fight on Tara May 23, 1798 but, on that night, he refused to leave his house. - BS

Drogheda, we note, is in County Louth, near the border with Meath, north of Dublin and at the southern edge of Ulster. Collon is about a dozen miles north and west of there, again in County Louth.

Unless Boylan was taken far away from the city where he was tried, the charges against him do sound exaggerated; there weren't that many active rebels in that area. The nearest rebel activity was in County Meath, and that pretty feeble. - RBW

Historical references

  • June 22, 1798 - Michael Boylan is hanged at the Tholsel, Drogheda. (source: Moylan)


  1. Zimmermann 15, "Michael Boylan" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Moylan 66, "In Collon I Was Taken" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, Zimm015


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1798 (Zimmermann)
Found in: Ireland