County Kerry, as we all know, was very much involved in the struggle for Irish freedom. In 1920, four young soldiers of Ireland were surrounded by crown forces in the valley of Knockanure. One of the four, Con Dee, managed to make his escape, but the other three were ruthlessly mown down by the enemy.
They were Jerry Lyons, a native of Duagh; Paddy Walsh, of Ballydonoghue and Pat Dalton from Athea, Co Limerick. They are remembered in two fine ballads, one of them the work of Paddy Drury. However, we have chosen Bryan MacMahon’s splendid song, The Valley of Knockanure.
You may sing and speak about Easter Week, And the heroes of Ninety Eight; Of Fenian men who roamed the glen, In victory or defeat. Their names are placed on history’s page, Their memory will endure; Not a song was sung of our darling sons, In the Valley of Knockanure.
There was Walsh and Lyons and the Dalton boy, They were young and in their prime; They rambled to a lonely spot, Where the Black and Tans did hide. A republic bold they did uphold, Though outlawed on the moor; And side by side they fought and died, In the Valley of Knockanure.
It was on a neighbouring hillside, We listened in hushed dismay; In every house, in every town, A young girl knelt to pray. They’re closing in around them now, With rifle fire so sure; And Lyons is dead and young Dalton’s down, In the Valley of Knockanure.
But ‘ere the guns could seal his fate, Young Walsh had spoken true; With a prayer to God he spurned the sod, As against the hill he flew. The bullets tore his flesh in two, Yet he cried with voice so sure; “Revenge I’ll get for my comrades’ death, In the Valley of Knockanure”.
The summer sun is sinking low, Behind the field and
lea; The pale moonlight is shining bright, Far off beyond Tralee. The dismal
stars and the clouds afar, Are darkening o’er the moor; And the banshee cried
when young Dalton died, In the Valley of Knockanure.
Here is the song on U-Tube: The Valley Of Knockanure
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