Follow Me up to Carlow
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"Follow Me Up to Carlow" is an Irish folk song celebrating the defeat of an army of 3,000 English soldiers by Fiach Mac Aodh Ó Broin (anglicised Fiach McHugh O'Byrne) at the Battle of Glenmalure, during the Second Desmond Rebellion in 1580.
The air is reputed to have been played as a marching tune by the pipers of Fiach MacHugh in 1580.
The words were written by Patrick Joseph McCall (1861–1919) and appear in his Songs of Erinn (1899) under the title "Marching Song of Feagh MacHugh".
It has been performed by numerous Irish folk bands. Most notably, Planxty recorded it on their debut album.
A Polish version of the song ("Do Carlow") was recorded by the band Mordewind and can be found on their second album, "Defaac'to".
Declan Hunt, an Irish Balladeer, covered the song in his album "26 Irish Rebel Songs — (Volume Two)".
The song was performed by the Spanish band Los Stompers as part of their live album "Mezzy on Stage".
Blood or Whiskey, an Irish punk/folk band from Leixlip, County Kildare, recorded it on their album "No Time To Explain".
James Keelaghan performs his version on his debut album "Timelines".
Cruachan, an Irish folk metal group, plays their version on the album "Blood for the Blood God" titled "The Marching Song of Fiach Mac Hugh".
Fiddler's Green, a German folk rock band, adapted the lyrics into their song "I Won't Follow You Up To Carlow" on their album Black Sheep.
The High Kings, an Irish Folk Group, recorded a version of the song on their 2016 album "Grace & Glory".
Lyrics by Planxty
Lift MacCahir Óg your face brooding o'er the old disgrace
That black Fitzwilliam stormed your place, drove you to the Fern
Grey said victory was sure soon the firebrand he'd secure;
Until he met at Glenmalure with Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne.
Curse and swear Lord Kildare
Fiach will do what Fiach will dare
Now Fitzwilliam, have a care
Fallen is your star, low
Up with halbert out with sword
On we'll go for by the Lord
Fiach MacHugh has given the word,
Follow me up to Carlow.
See the swords of Glen Imayle, they're flashing o'er the English Pale
See all the children of the Gael, beneath O'Byrne's banners
Rooster of a fighting stock, would you let a Saxon cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock? Fly up and teach him manners!
From Saggart to Clonmore, there flows a stream of Saxon gore
O, great is Rory Óg O'More, at sending the loons to Hades.
White is sick and Grey is fled, now for black Fitzwilliam's head
We'll send it over dripping red, to Queen Liza and her ladies.
- "Follow Me up to Carlow", Irish Music Daily
- Patrick Joseph McCall, Songs of Erinn (London and Dublin, 1899), 22-23.(external link to source)