The Flower of Cahirmore.

Though ten thousand miles away,
In fair golden Doubleway,
Yet I never can forget my native shore,
For no matter where I stray,
I will fondly sing each day
How McCarthy won the Flower of Cahirmore.


For his age was just eighteen,
And he hailed from Mealisheen*,
Neath the shadows of majestic Carrigrour,
For it was a glorious sight,
To see hillsides burning bright,
When McCarthy won the Flower of Cahirmore.

For it filled my heart with pride,
And with joy I almost cried,
When I read those stirring verses o’er and o’er,
For it brought me back to where
Hats went flying through the air,
When McCarthy won the Flower of Cahirmore.

Oh, I fancied I could hear,
The wild joyous ringing cheer
From the loving hearts I knew in days of yore,
As the bowl** came spinning fast
And the score*** is safely past,
When McCarthy won the Flower of Cahirmore.

Down the slopes of Rowry Glen
We marched three hundred men,
And met the great O’Brien at his door.
When the Champion saw the youth
He said, “Boys, I’ll tell the truth,
He’ll never take the Flower of Cahirmore.”

Up the hillside’s rugged brow,
Every nerve was straining now,
And the Ross men cheered their champion o’er and o’er.
But their cheering was in vain,
For McCarthy made it plain
That he meant to take the Flower of Cahirmore.

Then our shoulders bore him high,
The young Champion looked so shy,
As we all marched down in triumph to Glandore,
And we gave a ringing cheer,
Made the echoes far and near,
When McCarthy won the Flower of Cahirmore.

Here’s to that noble boy,
May his life be filled with joy,
May he never loose the laurels that he wore,
And each day that rolls along,
May his arms be stout and strong
To defend the Flower he won at Cahirmore.

I may travel many miles
In search of fortune’s smiles
Ere I steer my bark to Erin’s lovely shore,
And that thought will bring delight,
Though my path be dark or bright,
That McCarthy won the Flower of Cahirmore.

*Mealisheen: pronounced ‘Male–isheen’.
**Bowl: rhymes with ‘cowl’.
*** The score: in the game of ‘bowling’ a ‘score’ is a single event or contest, or so I'm told!

During a game of “bowling’ a steel ball (a ‘bowl’ – it rhymes with ’cowl’) is thrown along public roads. The winner is the one who gets from the start to the finish with the least number of throws of the ‘bowl’. In Ireland it is played only in Cork and Antrim.
Curiously, I have been told that it is also played in the north of Germany, in the Bremen area. This suggests that the game may possibly have been brought to Ireland in the eighteenth century by German soldiers serving one or other of the Hanoverian kings of England. Of course it may also be the case that the Germans could have picked up the pastime while stationed in Ireland!
My late father was born in Cregg, a place near the sea between Rosscarbery and Glandore in West Cork. The words of the song were given to me by my cousin, P.J.Tobin, of Rosscarbery. I do not know who wrote it or when.

By Barry Tobin.

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