Michael Farrell

by Maeve Brady

A day after the victory at Clonfin
the scent of cartidges mottles the air
moving forward and backward, backwards and forward
where history has collided.

Michael creeps out nervously on to his few acres of land.
The Crown Forces could be lurking in the whispering ditches
vowing to punish and retaliate.

A shameful act will be visited on this frail aged man,
innocent and hard of hearing.
He does not hear the sudden command to “halt”.

Surprised to be caught in this deed of death
Michael staggers, gulps, groans, falls to the ground.
The fatal shot steals his life.
An Unsung Hero.

One hundred years on
history chronicles Michael
honouring him with those who fought
in the Circle of Courage
now gracing the site.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop held in association with Longford Archives at Edgeworthstown Community Library, in October 2023. The workshop was led by writer Mary Melvin Geoghegan.

Michael Farrell was shot as a reprisal by Crown Forces as retaliation for the Clonfin Ambush. The disc as the bottom of the Circle of Courage represents Michael. The 21 North Flying Column members engaged in the Ambush and the 4 Auxiliaries killed are in the upper circles of the globe.