The Old Cross of Ardboe - A Poem

A Tyrone poet waxes lyrical about his home

Fare thee well my native green clad hills
Fare thee well my shamrock plains
Ye verdant banks of sweet Lough Neagh
With your silvery winding streams
Though far from home in green Tyrone
From where you and I did stray
I adore you Killycolpy
Where I spent my youthful days.

Shall I never rove through Belmont’s grove?
Or Carnan’s lofty hills
Or hear again the fairy tale
Of the rath beside the mill
Shall I e’er hold Shane’s castle old
Or gaze on Massereene
Shall I e’er see my cottier land?
By Coney Island or Rosskeen.

Shall I e’er stray by the Washingbay?
Where the wary trout decoy
Or cast my line on an evening fine
Round the shores of sweet Mountjoy
Shall the autumn gale e’er fill my sail?
By the dim declining moon
See the tempest toss on the shores of Doss
Or the raging bay of Toome.

For you old Ardboe, my tears do flow
When I think and call to mind
My comrades dear and friends sincere
And loved ones true and kind
How I long to gaze on your heathery braes
Though seven long years have flown
And the hands to grasp in friendship’s clasp
With loved ones in Tyrone.

But I know alas, this life must pass
Its course no longer mine
Yet I hope e’er long on my land of song
That stars of peace may shine
May plenty bloom from the Bann to Toome
The shamrocks yet may grow
Green o’er my grave by Lough Neagh’s wave
Or the old cross of Ardboe.