Ballad of Jimmy’s Hall

by Mary White

Listen close to a tale we’ll share,
‘Bout a hall where dreams dared to flair,
Jimmy Gralton’s vision, strong and bright,
Lit up the darkness, like stars at night.

In nineteen thirty-two, a hero arose,
Jimmy Gralton’s name throughout Leitrim grows.
A rebel spirit, he dared to dream,
To dance and gather a vibrant team.

(Chorus)
Oh Jimmy’s hall where spirits soar,
Oh, Jimmy’s Hall, we beg for more,
In merry revelry hearts take flight,
For freedoms cause we all unite.

But opposition grew in his hometown,
Where state and Fr. Sheridan would frown,
They deemed the dancing lewd and obscene,
Yet Jimmy held fast to his dream.

(Chorus)

People rallied, protested his fate,
Ending an era of prejudice and hate,
They hunted him down, tried to break his will,
But Jimmy stood firm, a rebel still.

(Chorus)

He stood up for a family facing eviction,
His activism sparked a Gardai’s conviction,
History remembers Jimmy Gralton’s name,
The only Irishman deported in shame.

(Chorus)

Deported he was from his homeland so dear,
For sewing the seeds of laughter and cheer,
They burned down the hall, a desperate act,
But Jimmy’s legacy, it stayed intact.

(Chorus)
(Chorus repeat)

 

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop held at Limerick Museum in May 2023. The workshop was led by writer David McLoghlin.