Kilcock – a lay of

My parents were from Wicklow and Wexford so all our travels to visit relatives were down in that direction. That is where we went on holidays too.


We knew little about the road to the west

West was wherevour next door neighbours hailed frome, Sligo to be exact – they often asked my mother (famed for her recitations) to say “The Lake Isle of Inisfree”;

West was where my grandmother went on an annual pilgrimage – Knock sometimes taking me her eldest grandchild with her;

West was the road through Kilock which featured in the story of my mother’s return from Australia and her conscription in the Presentation Convent Wexford to recite “The Lay of Kilcock” at the Feis Maitiú. The poem remained hidden in her repertoire until I became a teacher in Kilcock and was then introduced to the poem. The same poem was also in the repertoire of one of my teaching colleagues and how wonderful when she recited it for me after supper in Shalom on my last week as Príomhoide.



Pat Dunn

Was admittedly one

Who came from a very old stock,

From where In the County Kildare,

Stands the famous old town of Kilcock.

A place

So devoid of all grace,

And wholly addicted to evil,

It was said

Of the living and dead,

All save he had gone straight to the Devil.

But he

Never went on the spree,

And in virtue stood firm as a rock,


He preserved a pure tone

In that wicked town of Kilcock.

At last

To eternity passed

From the troubles and sorrows of life

Poor Pat,

Who left, just think of that,

Twelve children and only one wife!

Well, well,

They tolled out his death.knell,

And things went on the same as before,

While he,

With all speed that might be,

Presented himself at Heaven’s door.

A knock

Brought a turn of the lock,

And the Prince of Apostles came out;

“Pray who,”

Said Saint Peter, ” are you

And what business have you come about?”

“In troth,”

For Saint Peter looked wroth,

Said poor Pat, like a prisoner in dock

“My name Is Pat Dunn from the town of Kilcock.”


Said the saint, takin’ stock,

And he shook his head, doubting the story.

Poor Dunn

Too soon thought he had won

His reward in the kingdom of glory.


Said the sturdy old rock,

“There’s a town of that name in no nation.”

Says Pat,

“Sir, be aisy in that,

‘Tis a Midland Great Western station.”

” I’11 look,”

Said the saint. ” in my hook.”

And he turned back the key in the lock;

But there,

In the County Kildare,

Sure enough he discovered Kilcock.

“I see

You’ve the better 0f me,

Tho’ I thought you were trying to mock;

Come in,”

Said the saint with a grin,

“You’re the first that ~ come here from Kilcock.”

Author: Breda Fay

I'm retired since end August 2016 and loving the new life! More time now for family and friends and to explore craft, history, travel and certainly more of a chance for, me-time. To paraphrase Seuss: I've no tears that (teaching) is over; but many smiles that it happened!

5 thoughts on “Kilcock – a lay of”

  1. Thank you Breda, looked everywhere for this. Thank you for your blog! Michelle O’Sullivan , our daughter attended your school. I have just about learned the words and hope to spread it far and wide. Regards, Michael O’Sullivan.

  2. Hi Breda
    I used to recite that when I was young, and still remember most of it by heart. There was a framed copy of it on the wall in Byrne’s pub (now Gregorys) in the square in Kilcock.
    The presentation nuns have a convent in Kilcock. Did you teach in Scoil Iosa?
    I went to the old convent from 3 to 6 or so. Then we were moved to the Christian Brothers in School Street. My parents still live just outside Kilcock, and I live in The Philippines

    1. Taught in Scoil Choca, behind church 1989 till 2016 (from 89 to 99 was a Support teacher shared between boys and girls schools and then became Principal of Girls’ chool). Loved my days in Kilcock … a friendly and most welcoming community. Great to hear my blog reaches Philipines!

      1. Yeah, behind the church. That is where the boys used to go to before going to the Christian Brothers. Mother Brendan, Sister Dymna among others.
        If you feel like going to The Philippines, give me a shout. We have a charity here (Star Apple Foundation).

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