“The Boys of Mullabawn”


"A vile deceiving stranger ... has ordered transportation for the boys of Mullabawn." The women lament and "without hesitation, we are charged with combination And sent for transportation from the hills of Mullabawn"


OLochlainn-More: "This song records a real happening during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the transportation of peasant farmers for some agrarian offence at Mullaghbawn near Newry, Co. Armagh. (See F. J. Bigger: _The Ulster Land War_.)"

Moylan: "This song could be about Defenderism or United Irishmen or, according to one theory, the transportation of men who had attempted to abduct an heiress, an activity for which clubs existed in 18th-century Ireland. It is set in the heart of Defender country in south Armagh, but local tradition associates the song with the United Irishmen." At the end of the eighteenth century the Catholic "Defenders" were opposed to the Protestant "Peep o'Day Boys" or "Orangemen" (source: Zimmermann). - BS


  • Bodleian, 2806 b.9(265), "The Boys of Mullaghbawn," W. Birmingham (Dublin), c.1867; also 2806 c.15(180), Harding B 19(40), "The Boys of Mullaghbawn"


  1. OLochlainn-More 56, "The Boys of Mullabawn" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Moylan 42, "The Boys of Mullaghbawn" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Hayward-Ulster, pp. 26-27, "The Boys of Mullabawn" (1 text)
  4. OBoyle 6, "Boys of Mullaghbawn" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #2362
  6. BI, LcMullB


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Hayward-Ulster); c.1867 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 b.9(265))
Found in: Ireland