Duffy’s Cut

Wally Page/Tony Boylan


In the summer of 1832

The sailing ship John Stamp

Tied up into the port of Pennsylvania

Up the ladder from the cargo deck

Poor men and women crept

Into the open skies above


Dia is Muire Dhuit agus Failte Romhat

Duffy’s my name, I cut through stone

Work for me, I’m one of your own

In dollars I will pay you


57 men signed up,

Duffy promised to fill their cup

If they cut the Malvern Valley up

Mile 59 had to be on time for the railway line


From Ballyshannon and The Glenties

They sailed right into hell

They suffered like the weeping Christ

Down Duffy’s Cut they sweat their blood

Into his wishing well

Were they taken by the sickness?

Were they hunted down like scum?

Was there poison in the water?

Was it cholera or murder?

The smoke that hid the bullets

From the barrel of the boss’s gun


The Blacksmith and the Holy Sisters

Good people through and through

Whispered prayers into the victims ears

It’s all that they could do

How come the bosses had silence on their lips

As 57 Irish Navvies were buried in a pit

No stone to mark their resting place

No one to mourn their passing