Islandmagee County Antrim

Brian Boy Magee

I am Brian Boy Magee, my father was Eoghan Ban,

I was wakened from happy dreams by the shouts of my startled Clan.

And I saw through the leaping glare that marked where our homestead stood.

My mother swing by her hair, and my brothers lie in the blood.

In the creeping cold of the night the creeping wolves came down,

Scotch troops from that Castle grim guarding Knockfergus Town.

And they hacked and lashed and hewed, with musket and rope and sword, ‘

Till my murdered kin lay thick in pools by the Slaughter Ford.

I fought by my father’s side, and when we were fighting sore,

We saw a line of their steel with our shrieking women before.

The Redcoats drove them on to the verge of the Gobbins Grey.

Hurried them - God ! the sight, as the sea foamed up for its prey!

O, tall were the Gobbins Cliffs, and sharp were the rocks, my woe

And tender the limbs that met such terrible death below.

Mother and Babe and Maid, they clutched at the empty air,

With eyeballs widened in fright , that hour of despair.

Sleep soft in your heaving bed, 0 little fair love of my heart.

The bitter oath I have sworn, shall be of my life a part.

And for every piteous prayer. you prayed your way to die.

May I hear an enemy plead, while I laugh and deny.

In the dawn that was gold and red, Aye, red as the blood choked stream,

I crept to the perilous brink - Great Christ ! was the night a dream ?

In all the Island of Gloom, I, only had life that day -

Death covered the Green hillsides, and tossed in the Bay.

I have vowed with the pride of my sires - By my mother’s wandering ghost -

By my kinfolks’ shattered bones, hurled on the cruel coast -

By the sweet dead face of my love, and the wound in her gentle breast,

To follow that murderous band, a sleuth-hound knows no rest.

I shall go to Feilim 0’Neill, with my sorrowful tale and crave,

A blue-bright blade of Spain, in the ranks of his soldiers brave.

And God grant me the strength to wield, that shining avenger well.

When the Gad shall sweep his foe, through the yawning gates of Hell

I am Brian Boy Magee, and my creed is the creed of Hate !

Love, Peace, I have cast aside, But Vengeance, Vengeance I wait.

Till I pay back the four fold debt, for the horrors I witnessed there.

When my brothers moaned in their blood, and my mother swung by her hair.

Witness's to Massacre .

Taken before us, 9th April, 1653.
Her ANY + MAGILL mark
The examination of BRYAN MAGEE, aged twenty-eight or thereabouts, husbandman, of (illegible), in the county Down, taken at Lisnagarvey (Lios na gCearrbhach i.e. fort of the gamblers Lisbum), 21st of April, 1653,
Who saith that, about the 8th of January, 1641, this examt., then living in Islandmagee, in his father’s house, Owen Magee, in the night about bedtime some one knocked at the door, and this examt. ‘s mother opened it, and there came in Robert Brown, now living in the Isle Magee, and his son James, with their swords drawn, and several others of the neighbours, to the number of eleven and upwards, with pitchforks, staves, and other weapons, which said persons that are still living are as followeth:- William Gillis, of the Isle Magee, William Boyd and James Boyd of the same, Alexander McMaster and John McMaster, the elder and the younger, John Nelson, the son of James Nelson, and they killed at that time Jane, mother of this examt., and Margaret O’Camell, and Ever and Doltagh Magee, a sucking child, brothers to this examt., and Margaret and Mauria, sisters to this examt.; but this examt.’ father and himself and his two brothers, Konogher Magee and Turlough Magee, escaped out at the back door, and lay low upon the ground on their bellies for about the space of an hour, until the said Scotchmen were gone away, out of the house, and then they went and lighted some straw to see what was become of the said women and children, and found them all killed and weltering in their blood, and wounded in several places, and all their household goods taken away, so this examinant’s father, with his said two brothers and Bryan Buie Magee, who came round to them out of the next house, which was Donnell Magee’s and where the said Scotchmen had killed the said Doimell and about ten persons more the same evening, as the said Bryan Buie related to him, and they went all in that night to Knockfergus, and colonel Hill not being in the garrison, some Scotchmen took them out at the gate and killed his said father, and two brothers, and Brian Buie Magee that was wounded at Isle Magee the night before, but it pleased God that this examt. outran and escaped. And being demanded if any are yet living who escaped out of Donnell Magee’s house, saith that his son Turlough, who was wounded that evening, is now living in the Braid near (illegible).
The Examination of Elizabeth Gormally, of Dooncrue, widow, in the county of Antrim, who being sworn before us, saith,
That in the beginning of the rebellion, this examt. lived in the Irish quarter, near to the west port of Carrickfergus, and hearing a great noise, and seeing a great many people passing to and fro upon the walls, came out of her house to know what the matter was, and saw Brian Buie Magee coming from the key-gate, towards the said house; and this examt. further saith that a boy, who was a drummer belonging to the garrison of Carrickfergus, met him the said Bryan in the way, and with a Scotch whinyard [a short sword or dagger] gave him a stab under the right breast, and afterwards the said boy gave him another stab in the shoulder, and another under the left breast, whereupon he the said Brian ran hastily by this examt.’s door, and against the west corner of the said house, John McOwen met the said Brian, and with a crab-tree cudgel he, the said John MacOwen, had then in his hand, he struck the said Brian Magee two blows upon his head, so that he fell to the ground, and that then the said John MacOwen left him, after which the said Brian Magee was stripped naked, and then one John Nelson came up to him and drew out his sword, and thrust it through the neck of the said Brian Magee, cutting his throat, and the cause of this examt.’s knowledge of this is that she was present in the place and saw it. And further saith not.
Taken before us, May, 1653, SAM. BONELL.
Elizabeth + Gormally.