By Pauline Murphy
Browsing through traditional rish music archives I came across a little known ballad about a little known heroine of the 1798 Rebellion – Brave Mary Doyle of Wexford. The ballad appears in the 1967 publication Folk Magazine and even though we are not told who the author is, we are informed that the ballad is sung to the air of Carrickfergus.
Very little is known about Mary Doyle but what we do know is that she hailed from Castleboro and had rebel blood flowing through her veins. During the United Irishmen revolt in 1798 she found her elderly father taking a stand with the rebels in New Ross.
Mary told her father to go home as he was too frail for battle and she took his place. It is thought that Mary was aged about 30 and perhaps this may be mere myth but, some believe she was engaged to John Kelly the famed rebel from Killanne who was hanged at Wexford bridge in June of ‘98.