“Slieve Na Mon”


Tithes and taxes: "No more they're legal on Slieve na Mon" At Carrickshock we left "the rabble ... in death's cold agony." The accused are freed "by the means of our noble Dan." Soon "tithes no more will oppress the land" "We'll banish Brinswickers"


The context is "The Tithe War": O'Connell's Catholic Association was formed in 1823 to resist the requirement that Irish Catholics pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. The "war" was passive for most of the period 1823-1836, though there were violent incidents in 1831 (source: _The Irish Tithe War 1831_ at the OnWar.com site)

Zimmermann p. 18: "In the early 1830's a veritable state of insurrection prevailed in Leinster and Munster, when the military and the police were called in to assist in collecting the tithes or seizing and auctioning the cattle or crops of those who refused to pay."

Zimmermann's description of the "Battle of Carrickshock": "a proctor tried to serve tithe processes at Carrickshock, County Kilkenny; he was accompanied by a police force of thirty-seven men. A party of peasants armed with scythes, spades and pitchforks attacked them. The proctor and at least twelve policemen were killed. The peasants charge with murder were skilfully defended by O'Connell, and the trial was abandoned."

The broadside description of the battle is graphic: "Who could desire to see better sport, To see them groping among the loughs, Their sculls all fractured, their eye-balls broken, Their great long noses and ears cut off."

Zimmermann states that a version was noted "from oral tradition c. 1900." - BS

For the overall history of the Tithe War, as well as more information on this song, see the notes to "The Battle of Carrickshock." The name "Brinswickers," i.e. "Brunswickers," was used as a generic term in Ireland for non-Catholics -- even though, ironically, the Germans were Lutherans, while the English were Anglican and the Ulster immigrants were Presbyterian (Reformed); neither of the latter two sects are, technically, Protestant. (A distintiction, I concede, of greater significance to non-Catholics than Catholics.) - RBW.

Historical references

  • Dec 14, 1831 - Carrickshock, County Kilkenny: Peasants attack tithe process servers, killing at least 13 (source: Zimmermann)

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 25(81), "Slieve Na Mon" ("You banished sons of this injured nation"), unknown, n.d.


  1. Zimmermann 42, "Slieve Na Mon" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Zimm042


Author: unknown
Earliest date: c.1832 (Zimmermann)