The Wexford Song Project

An Irish Traditional Song Initiative


Bagnel Harvey’s Farewell

Lyrics: Unknown

Air: Original by Tommy Mallon

Farewell to Bargy’s lovely groves, my father’s own estate,

And farewell unto its lofty towers, my own ancestral seat.

Farewell each friend and neighbour, the one I well knew there,

My tenants now will miss the hand that fostered them with care.

Farewell to Cornelius Grogan and Kelly ever true,

John Colclough and good Fr. Roche receive my last adieu,

And fare thee well brave Esmonde Kyne though proud oppression laws

Forbid us to lay down our lives, we bless the holy cause.

Farewell my brave united men who dearly with me fought,

Though tyrants might has vanquished right, full dearly it was bought

And when the sun of freedom again upon you shines

At last let Bagnel Harvey’s name array your your battle line.

Although perchance it is my fate in Wexford town to die,

Oh, bear my body to the tomb wherein my fathers lie,

And have the solemn service read in Mayglass holy towers,

And have twelve young maids from Bargy side scatter my grave with flowers.

So Farewell to Bargy’s lovely groves since from you I must part,

A stranger now may call you his while sorrow fills my heart,

And when at last fate shall decree that Erin should be free

Then Bagnel Harvey’s rightful heir shall be returned to thee.

About the Song

Background: The author for this song is unknown. It was shortly after 1798 when it appeared in the local paper many times. Originally a recitation it first put to music by Tommy Mallon who recorded an air for it in the early 1960’s. It was recorded by Paddy Berry for Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Eireann on Fleadh Ceoil Prizewinners 1971.

Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey (died 28 June 1798) was a barrister and a commander of the United Irishmen in the Battle of New Ross during the 1798 Rebellion. He was a Protestant, educated at Trinity College, Dublin and known for his liberal principles and as a supporter of Catholic emancipation. From June 1792 he was a member of the United Irishmen.

On 7 June Harvey resigned at Sliabh Coillte, disgusted with his defeat and the ensuing Scullabogue Barn massacre. He was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by Philip Roche and returned to Wexford where he was appointed President of the town committee. Confident that a treaty would be negotiated on the rebels behalf by Lord Kingsborough, the captured loyalist commander of the North Cork Militia, he retired to his family home at Bargy Castle. Shortly afterwards he and John Henry Colclough, dressed as peasants, travelled to a cave on the Greater Saltee Island from whence they planned to escape to republican France. They were, however, betrayed and Harvey was arrested by Ralph James, an officer of the Irish Yeomanry, and brought to Wexford town. He was tried, convicted and hanged on Wexford bridge on 28 June 1798. His body was afterwards beheaded, the trunk thrown into the River Slaney and the head displayed on a spike on the courthouse. His corpse was recovered by his friends and buried in Mayglass cemetery, near Mountpleasant House, the house he lived in before he died.

Bargy Castle is a Norman fortress near the village of Tomhaggard in the Barony of Bargy, County Wexford, Ireland, some 12 km south-west of Wexford town. From the 15th century the castle was occupied by the Rossiter family until 1667, when it was confiscated by Cromwell in response to Rossiter's part in the defence of Wexford. It was sold it to the Harvey family and came down to Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey. After the suppression of the uprising, and Harvey's execution on Wexford bridge, the castle was again confiscated and used as a barracks until 1808, after which it was handed back to James Harvey, Bagenal's brother. Bargy Castle still stands and is currently owned by the Davidson family.

Sources: Lyrics: Wexford Ballads collected by Paddy Berry.

Selected Songs & Ballads of ’98. Published by Carrigbyrne Comoradh ’98 Committee.

Variation – Wexford ballads of 1798 (1998)

line 8  1st word Compel instead of Forbid.

Information compiled by Mary Kinsella

as part of the Wexford Song Project