The Ballad of DJ Allman

It was on a Monday morning in the merry month of June
I strayed into an old churchyard to view a silent tomb
I overheard an old man say as the tears rolled from his eyes
“It is underneath that cold grey sod where young DJ Allman lies.”

Oh rise up DJ Allman, rise up and tell me plain
Who went that day along with you to ambush Headford train?
Who stood out on that platform bold and fired that signal gun?
Who fought and died at Headford with you my darling son?

The man who fired that signal gun, he now to heaven is gone
Many’s the weary hour and mile we shouldered him along,
Pierced and cold his body lay in a state of massacre
Because he was a rebel bold and he died for liberty.

The day of Allman’s funeral, it was a splendid sight
To see four and twenty clergymen and they all dressed up in white
Allman’s cap and rifle we laid them by his side
We wrapped the green flag round him while his comrades passed him by.

And now to conclude and end my song for I have no more to say,
May God have mercy on your souls who sleep beneath the clay,
May God have mercy on your souls who died for Ireland’s pride,
Who fought and died at Headford where young DJ Allman died.

This is a lament for Commandant Daniel J. Allman of the Kerry No 2 Flying Column Brigade who was killed in action in an ambush at Headford Station between Killarney and Rathmore in March 1921 in the War of Independence.

It can be found in the collection ‘Their Memory Will Endure, Kerry Songs of Revolution, 1916-1924’, compiled by Gabriel Fitzmaurice & Pádraig Ó Concubhair for Kerry Writer’s Museum, Listowel.