'100 Lights' poem recited by Sean Healy

Pauline Cowell, Mary Keegan, Sean Healy, Josie Simpson and Martina Byrne pictured in Baravore car park Glenmalure, at the start of '100 Lights Walk'
Paul Messitt
Sean Healy reciting his poem '100 Lights' commemorating the candle lit walk by the miners and their families to religious services on Christmas Morning in the mid 19th century

The silence of the winter’s night lay all along the glen :
The frosty snow throws sparkles on  the fields and mountain fern,
Christmas Eve in the Miners’ village, along the banks of the Avonbeg:
They built up the fire for morning, took the lamps down from their peg:
Outside the stars were twinkling  from the black sky overhead:
Gathering with their neighbours, as around the village  the word was spread:
They lit their candles and the lamps and walked out through the night:
Crossing the ford at Barravore  at least a hundred lights:

All along  the valley, seven miles to Greenane Mass
To celebrate the birth of Christ  and give thanks for all that passed:
Though the life they lived in the mountains was often hard and tough:
To those people of that time, the love of family was enough:
Their faith in God, their love of neighbours shone from their careworn faces:
A community of a hundred souls from all walks of life and places,

And when the Mass was over, up the valley so still and quiet,

Walking into history with the beacon of their hundred lights.

The years have passed; the mining village has crumbled into stone:
That generation has disappeared, now almost unknown:
Grass and trees growing  over the hearthfire of those homes:
The wind sings through the valley, where one house stands  all alone:
If you close your eyes and listen

to the sighing of the wind:
You may hear the faintest whisper

of their voices once again:
Maybe you may chance to pass the ford on a Christmas night:
Through the mists of time the reflection still, from those hundred lights:

A hundred lights, a hundred lights along that lonely glen!!
A hundred lights, a hundred lights of women, children, and men!
A hundred lights seen crossing, by the ford at Barravore:
A hundred lights on Christmas night, they’ll shine forever more.

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