Denny Lane, one of the most popular of the Young Ireland leaders, and the writer of the two well-known poems, ‘Kate of Araglen’ and ‘Carraigdhoun’ (or ‘Lament of the Irish Maiden’).
Although a Catholic, he graduated from the mainly Protestant Trinity College, Dublin, where he joined the College Historical Society, became a friend of Charles Gavan Duffy and Thomas Davis, and moved in the circle from which the Young Ireland movement sprang. He was called to the bar from Inner Temple. Under the pen name ‘Domhnall na Glanna’ or ‘Domhnall Gleannach’, he wrote Irish nationalist and romantic lyrics which were published in The Nation in the 1840s. Lane and his college classmate Michael Joseph Barry were the most prominent Young Irelanders in Cork, and were interned in Cork City Gaol after the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. Thomas Carlyle on his 1849 Irish tour met Lane on 17 July, describing him as a ‘fine brown Irish figure, Denny; distiller – ex-repealer; frank, hearty, honest air; like Alfred Tennyson a little’.
Lane took over his father’s distillery in Cork and later started several industrial businesses near the city, with mixed success. He took an interest in technology and industrial innovation. He was on the boards of the Macroom Railway Company and the Blackrock and Passage Railway Company, and also involved in Cork’s School of Art, School of Music, and Literary and Scientific and Historical and Archaeological societies. He stood for Parliament in the 1876 Cork City by-election, but the Home Rule vote was split with John Daly, so that unionist William Goulding was elected.
‘Lament of the Irish Maiden’
On Carrigdhoun the heath is brown,
The clouds are dark o’er Ardnalee,
And many a stream comes rushing down
To swell the angry Ownabwee;
The moaing blast is sweeping fast
Through many a leafless tree,
And I’m alone, for he is gone,
My hawk has flown, ochone, machree!
The heath was green on Carrigdhoun,
Bright shone the sun on Ardnalee,
The dark green trees bent trembling down
To kiss the slumbering Ownabwee;
That happy day, ’twas but last May,
‘Tis like a dream to me,
When Donnell swore, ay, o’er and o’er,
We’d part no more, astor machree!
Soft April showers and bright May flowers
Will bring the summer back again,
But will they bring me back the hours
I spent with my brave Donnell then?
‘Tis but a chance, for he’s gone to France,
To wear the fleur-de-lys;
But I’ll follow you my Donnell Dhu,
For still I’m true to you, machree.
by Denny Lane