“Moonlight Attack on Curtin's House”


"Moonlighting heroes of late made a raid Down in Castlefarm in John Curtin's place" and shot Curtin and his son. "May those boys that's in jail be home before long." "Not forgetting Thady Sullivan," an assailant shot and killed in the raid.


The ballad recalls "His grandfather ... brought to the gallows in the year '98 Four dozen of croppies ... For which he was highly rewarded." Zimmermann notes "The Land War [roughly 1879-1885] took a particularly violent form in County Kerry where a secret agrarian organization revived the methods of the Whiteboys and Ribbonmen. John O'Connell Curtin was killed by some of these "Moonlighters."... Curtin was described by _The Nation_ as a staunch nationalist.... The verses were sung at fairs and other gatherings, and much applauded." - BS

Historical references

  • Nov 13, 1885 - John O'Connell Curtin killed by "Moonlighters" at his farm in Molahiffe, County Kerry (source: Zimmermann)


  1. Zimmermann 88, "Moonlight Attack on Curtin's House" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Zimm088


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1885 (Zimmermann)