Exiles of Erin


“The savage loves his native shore,

Though rude the soil and chill the air;

Then well may Erin’s sons adore

An Isle which nature formed so fair!”

This Volume[1] contains, so far as we have collected them, the names of those Irish families who claim to be of Danish, Norman, English, Welsh, Scottish, Huguenot, and Palatine extraction, and who from time to time settled in Ireland since the English invasion. While, however, some of those names are no doubt of foreign origin, it will be seen that others of them are of Irish descent, which have heretofore been considered as of foreign extraction. No doubt the love of country for which the Celts, in whatever clime, have ever been proverbial, may have led some of those families to return to Ireland, as opportunities offered; for, if Scotland’s friendly Bard[2] could admire the Emerald Isle, as by him expressed in the stanza which heads this page, it is not difficult to understand why, in weal or in woe, the Irish Celt, in exile,[3] so intensely loves his native country, or the loved land of his fathers, that he ever feels a home sickness to visit his

“First flower of the earth and first gem of the sea.”

As the genealogies herein contained are given in alphabetical order, and that therefore Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Irish, and Scottish-Irish families are necessarily intermixed, we give them under the heading “Irish Pedigrees, Anglo-Irish and other Genealogies;” as distinguished from the genealogies recorded in Vol. I., which relates to families of the Milesian Irish Race.

The following few Poems, by George Nugent Reynolds, will give the reader an idea of the Irish exile’s intense love of his native country:


Oh, land of my forefathers, sea-girded Erin!

My heart throbs aloud as thy hills disappear.

Fatuity! oh, thou wast dreadful and daring

To usher me thus on a pathless career.

But, oh, ’tis too late now my loss to recover,—

The land-breezes swelling, the spray dashing over,—

And green-bosom’d Erin, I scarcely discover;

Like blue wreathy vapours her mountains appear.

An exile, I fly to the banks of Ohio,

Where gloomy dark deserts bewilder the way;

Where no tuneful Orpheus or soft-voiced Thalia

Enlivens the heart with a soul-telling lay;

Where fell snakes are hissing and dire monsters screaming,

Where death-pregnant lightnings are dreadfully gleaming,

And direful contagion destruction proclaiming,

Infest every vale and embitter each day.

And oh! how contrasted with dear native Erin,

Whose rich herbage landscapes I tearfully leave,

Whose heath-crested hills are salubrious and cheering,

Whose daughters are peerless, whose sons true and brave.

The dismal tornado ne’er prostrates her towers,

No grim-fronted monster her children devours,

Nor breezes malignant shed death through her bowers,

All fanned by the soft-whistling gales of the wave.

Ah, man! thou art fretful, contentless, and wavering;

Thy blessings are countless; but thou mean and vile;

The hand of Jehovah extending and favouring,

Peculiarly visits the Emerald Isle.

Yet outcast of Nature, how blind to true pleasure,

Thou bart’rest enjoyment for base sordid treasure,

And home thou forsakest, though dear beyond measure,

Where friendship and freedom in harmony smile.


Farewell, and for ever, my lov’d Isle of sorrow,

Thy green vales and mountains delight me no more;

My bark’s on the wave, and the noon of to-morrow

Will see the poor exile, far, far from thy shore.

Again, my lov’d home, I may never behold thee;

Thy hope was a meteor—thy glory a dream;

Accurst be the dastards, the slaves that have sold thee,

And doomed thee, lost Erin, to bondage and shame.

The senseless, the cold, from remembrance may wean them,

Though the world they unlov’d, and unloving may roam;

But the heart of the patriot—though seas roll between them—

Forgets not the smiles of his once happy home.

Time may roll o’er me its circles uncheering,

Columbia’s proud forests around me shall wave;

But the exile shall never forget thee, lov’d Erin,

Till unmourn’d he sleeps in a far foreign grave.


This song, which was claimed by Mr. T. Campbell, was composed some time prior to November, 1799, on the subject of the exile of John Cormick, who was obliged to leave Ireland on account of the part he had taken in the Irish Insurrection of 1798. Mr. Reynolds’s sister (Mrs. Mary Anne MacNamara), of Lough Scur, county of Leitrim, wrote upwards of one hundred copies of it for friends, who again transcribed it for others, so that a travelling harper named Richard M‘Closkey, learned it in Belfast about the time of Christmas, 1799. Thus it was well known in parts of Ireland shortly after November, 1799.

Early in 1801, some one sent a copy of this song to the Morning Chronicle, and Mr. Perry, its editor, first printed it, anonymously, in his impression of the 28th January, 1801. Mr. Thomas Campbell, who was then at Altona, being a subscriber to the Chronicle, as well as a contributor to its columns, having received that issue, and seeing in it this song, which was so applicable to the case of a Mr. Anthony M‘Cann of Dundalk, co. Louth, then a political exile in Altona, copied it out, suppressed the name of the paper, and, in a moment of weakness and vanity, passed it off on M‘Cann as his (Campbell’s) own production. M‘Cann, of course, believed him, felt highly flattered at the compliment, and grateful for what he must have thought Campbell’s feeling and sympathy for him, the deluded refugee sent a copy of it to his friends in Dundalk, in March, 1801. He stated it was the composition of a Mr. Campbell, an “English” gentleman, of great poetic talent, who was staying at the same hotel with himself. Mr. M‘Cann also added that himself and Mr. Campbell were intimate friends, and that he (M‘Cann) suggested “Erin go Bragh” as the air best adapted for it. This alone would show that Campbell was not the author; and, apart from all historical evidence, the identity of many passages in the poems “Green were the Fields” (which we give in Vol. I.) and “The Exile of Erin,” together with the spirit which breathes in each, go to show that one and the same mind was the author of both. Mrs. Mary Anne MacNamara, Mr. Richard J. Reynolds, and Miss Bridget J. Reynolds, in 1830, proved satisfactorily that Mr. George Nugent Reynolds was the undoubted author of—

The Exile of Erinn.

There came to the beach a poor exile of Erinn,

The dew on his raiment was heavy and chill;

For his country he sighed, when at twilight repairing

To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill.

But the day-star attracted his eye’s sad devotion,

For it rose o’er his own native isle of the ocean,

Where once in the fire of his youthful emotion

He sang the bold anthem of Erin go Bragh.

Oh, sad is my fate, said the heart-broken stranger,

The wild deer and wolf to a covert can flee;

But I have no refuge from famine and danger,

A home and a country remain not to me.

Ah! never again in the green sunny bowers,

Where my forefathers lived, shall I spend the sweet hours,

Or cover my harp with the wild woven flowers,

And strike to the numbers of Erin go Bragh.

Erin, my country, though sad and forsaken,

In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore,

But alas! in a far foreign land I awaken,

And sigh for the friends that can meet me no more.

Ah! cruel fate, wilt thou never replace me

In a mansion of peace where no perils can chase me ?

Ah! never again shall my brothers embrace me—

They died to defend me, or live to deplore.

Where is my cabin-door fast by the wild wood ?

Sister and sire, did yon weep for its fall ?

Where is the mother that looked on my childhood ?

And where is the bosom friend dearer than all ?

Oh, my sad heart, long abandoned by pleasure,

Why did it doat on a fast-fading treasure ?

Tears like the rain-drop may fall without measure,

But rapture and beauty they cannot recall!

Yet, all its sad recollections suppressing,

One dying wish my lone bosom can draw—

Erin, an exile bequeaths thee his blessing,

Land of my forefathers, Erin go Bragh.

Buried and cold, when my heart stills its motion,

Green be thy fields, sweetest isle of the ocean,

And thy harp-striking bards sing aloud with devotion,

Erin Mavourneen, Erin go Bragh!


[1] Volume: For the Dedication of this Edition, see Vol. I.

[2] Bard: The above stanza is also ascribed to Robert Orr.

[3] Exile: How feeling is the song of the Irish Exile:

Oh, Erin, Mavourneen! how sad is the parting,

Dear home of our childhood, for ever from thee!

How bitter and burning the tears that are starting,

As we sigh a farewell to thee, Erin Machree!

My country! my country! tho’ far from that loved earth,

Where first I drew breath, from these lips it should go,

My last sigh will be thine, darling land of my birth,

My last prayer for thee, Erin, in welfare or woe.