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The Ballad of Brother Walfrid ©

Daniel McDonagh
Ontario, Canada
2006

My name is Andrew Kerins,
born and bred in Ballymote
I left my home at an early age
and traveled to Scotland in a trawler boat
Would I ever again see Ireland,
as the famine had stolen her strength
Would Scotland welcome the Diaspora,
of Irish men and women

My calling of becoming a Marist Priest
led me to the Glasgow parish of St. Mary's
Where the immigrant Irish, poor and starved,
made home in the east end of the city
My heart cried out when I saw these lost souls,
living in poverty and in squalor
As Protestant Scotland would not accept,
their accent, dress or culture.

I prayed day and night to Our Lord,
for the welfare of St. Patrick's flock,
As jobs were few and far between
as they were ridiculed, harassed and mocked,
From all over Ireland, they came to Glasgow,
to escape the potato blight
Some had wished they had went to America,
to live in the comfort of the stars and stripes

I saw the hunger on the faces of children
when they sat for Sunday Mass,
My dream was to feed them once a day,
that became my spiritual task.
Along with the St Vincent de Paul Society,
we would reach out to these starving souls,
The Poor Children's 'Penny Dinner' Table was formed,
for the undernourished children of Glasgow.

The Donegal dialect and the Kerry brogue,
I heard within my confessional,
As Irelandís lonely sons and daughters
spoke of broken hearts and promises,
I sought to feed their hunger
and bring hope to their shattered dreams
I fought to bring them comfort,
to silence their childrenís screams.

At St. Maryís hall in the Calton,
in February of 1887
I joined the victory celebrations
for a football team called Hibernian,
They were the pride of every Irishman
from Scotlandís east and west coast,
Where we sang songs of dear old Ireland,
to Hibernian, some gave a toast.

Like a vision of God before me,
inspiration came to me in a dream
Where the old east end of Glasgow,
would like Edinburgh, have an Irish team,
No more would Irish families live in poverty
or see their children sick,
For a football team would play for charity
and that team I would call Celtic.

For months, we toiled the barren land
that sat upon Janefield Street
And built a stadium for football
where the Irish would gather and meet,
I saw smiles appear on the faces of children,
who carried Ireland in their heart,
For they could not wait to welcome the Bhoys,
Who would one day grace Celtic Park.



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