Garryowen

AuthorJohn Johnson Marshall
Date1924
SourcePopular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland
Section Chapter X

Limerick is known as “The City of the broken Treaty” from the breach of the articles of Capitulation entered into between Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan and the Lords Justices in 1691. for the surrender of the town to the forces of William III. The stone on which the treaty was signed is still to be seen on a pedestal beside Thomond bridge.

“When William stormed with shot and shell

At the walls of Garryowen,

In the breach of death my Donald fell

And he sleeps near the ‘Treaty Stone.’ ”

Michael Scanlon—“The Jackets Green.”

Limerick is also everywhere known by the more poetical name of “Garryowen,” “Owen’s garden,” a suburb of Limerick in St. John’s Parish, in which in bygone times there was a public garden, which was frequented by the younger members of the community in great numbers. The young bloods of the town were not long in discovering this place of amusement and proceeding to indulge in what they at that time, considered the conduct of the young men of spirit, such as wringing the necks of all the geese, and the knockers off all the hall doors in the neighbourhood, varied occasionally by smashing the lamps or beating a watchman. The exploits of the Garryowen boys soon spread far and wide. Their fame was celebrated by some unknown minstrel of the day in that air which has since resounded in every quarter of the world, and even disputed the palm of popularity with “St. Patrick’s Day.”

The opening scenes of Gerald Griffin’s beautiful novel “The Collegians,” are laid in Garryowen, and from this work Dion Boucicault obtained the materials for his famous drama “The Colleen Bawn.”

The tragic story of Ellen Hanly or Scanlan, who was the original of Eily O’Connor, the heroine of “The Collegians,” was also sympathetically treated by the authors in “The Poor Man’s Daughter,” a narrative in a serial entitled “Tales of Irish Life.” There was also another account of this dramatic tragedy of real life in the “New Monthly.”

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Contents Popular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland
CategorySocial History

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