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Middlesex Genealogical Society

John Driscoll Family

Family Surnames

Byrnes, Coakley, Coughlin, Curley, Deren, Driscoll, Healy, Garry, Gavin, Jennings, Jordan, McLoughlin, Neilsen, Prendergast, Ryan

Family History

The Driscoll & Prendergast Story, Second Edition


Member Pages


John Driscoll
John Driscoll, 1824-1883.
Catherine Ryan Driscoll
Catherine Ryan Driscoll, 1833-1896.


The Host of the Air

William Butler Yeats 1865-1939
O'Driscoll drove with a song
The wild duck and the drake
From the tall and the tufted reeds
Of the drear Hart Lake.

And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night-tide,
And dreamed of the long dim hair
Of Bridget his bride.

He heard while he sang and dreamed
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.

And he saw young men and young girls
Who danced on a level place,
And Bridget his bride among them,
With a sad and a gay face.

The dancers crowded about him
And many a sweet thing said,
And a young man brought him red wine
And a young girl white bread.

But Bridget drew him by the sleeve
Away from the merry bands,
To old men playing at cards
With a twinkling of ancient hands.

The bread and the wine had a doom,
For these were the host of the air;
He sat and played in a dream
Of her long dim hair.

He played with the merry old men
And thought not of evil chance,
Until one bore Bridget his bride
Away from the merry dance.

He bore her away in his atms,
The handsomest young man there,
And his neck and his breast and his arms
Were drowned in her long dim hair.

O'Driscoll scattered the cards
And out of his dream awoke:
Old men and young men and young girls
Were gone like a drifting smoke;

But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.

The Sack of Baltimore

Thomas Davis (1814-1845)
The summer sun is falling soft o'er Carbery's hundred isles
The summer sun is gleaming still through Gabriel's rough defiles
Old Inisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a moulting bird,
And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is heard.
The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease their play;
The gossips leave the little inn; the households kneel to pray;
And full of love, and peace, and rest - it's daily labour o'er -
Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Baltimore.

A deeper rest, a starry trance, has come with midnight there;
No sound except that throbbing wave, in earth, or sea, or air.
The massive capes and ruined towers seemconscious of the calm;
The fibrous sod and stunted trees are breathing heavy balm.
So still the night, these two long barques round Dunashad that glide
Might trust their oars - methinks not few - against the ebbing tide.
Oh! Some sweet mission of true love must urge them to the shore:
They bring some lover to his bride, who sighs in Baltimore!

All, asleep within each roof along that rocky street,
And these must be the lover's friends with gently gliding feet -
A stifled gasp! A dreamy noise! "the roof is in a flame!"
From out their beds, and to their doors, rush maid, and sire, and dame,
And meet upon the threshold stone the gleaming sabre's fall,
And o'er each black and bearded face the white or crimson shawl;
The yell of "Allah" breaks abover the prayer, and shriek, and roar -
Oh! Blessed God! The Algerine is lord of Baltimore.

Then flung the youth his naked hand against the shearing sword;
Then sprung the mother on the brand with which her son was gored;
Then sunk the gransire on the floor, his grand-babes clutching wild;
Then fled the maiden moaning faint, and nestled with the child,
But see, yon pirate strangled lies, and crushed with splashing heel,
While o'er him in an Irish hand, there sweeps his Syrian steel:
Though virtue sink, and courage fail, and miser's yield their store,
There's one hearth well avenged in the sack of Baltimore!

Mid-summer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds began to sing;
They see not how the milking maids - deserted in the spring!
Mid-summer day - this gallant rides from distant Bandon's town;
These hookers crossed from stormy Skull, that skiff from Affadown:
They only found the smoking walls, that neighbour's blood besprent,
And on the strewed and trampled beach awhile they wildly went;
Then dashed to sea, and passed Cape Cleire, and saw five leagues before
The pirate galleys vanishing that ravished Baltimore

Oh! Some must tug the galley's oar, and some must tend the steed;
This boy will bear a Sheik's chibouk, and that a Bey's jerreed.
Oh! Some are in the arsenals, by beauteous Dardanelles;
And some are in the caravan to Mecca's sandy dells.
The maid that Bandon gallant sought is chosen for the Dey:
She's safe - he's dead - she stabbed him in the Midst of his serai;
And when, to die a death of fire, that noble maid they bore,
She only smiled - O'Driscoll's child - she thought of Baltimore

'Tis two long years since sunk the town beneath that bloody band,
And all around its trampled hearths a larger concourse stands,
Where, high upon a gallows tree, a yelling wretch is seen -
'Tis Hackett of Dungarvan, he who steered the Algerine!
He fell amid a sudden shout, with scarce a passing prayer,
For he had slain the kith and kin of many a hundred there;
Some muttered of MacMurchadh, who brought the Norman o'er;
Some cursed him with Iscariot that day in Baltimore.