The Armagh Women

Margaretta D’Arcy

In Black Armagh of the Goddess Macha,
Last February in the grey cold jail,
The governor Scott in his savage fury
Came down to break the women’s will.
Forty jailers, my forty jailers,
From the hell of Long Kesh come down
And help me break these warrior women
Who will not yield to the power of the crown.

The forty jailers put on the armour,
Strapped on their helmets, took up their shields,
Then they beat the Armagh women, they beat them down,
They were sure they’d yield.
Three days he kept them locked up in darkness,
Locked up in filth you would not believe.
When he released them he was so conceited
That one and all he thought they would yield.

“If you have suffered” he smilingly said,
“It never happened; it was all just a dream.
Come out, come out and obey my orders”
But the Armagh women they would never yield
They’d never yield to Scott the governor,
They’d never yield till they broke him down.
He and his jailers were all locked in prison
By the women of Armagh jail

And there they remain, those warrior women,
Locked up in filth you could not believe.
They hold Scott and his warders powerless.
They hold them there, they’ll never concede.
Women of Ireland, stand up and declare.
Women of Ireland, understand your power.
Make us see that together we’ll do it
We’ll tumble down their stone grey tower.

In Black Armagh of the Goddess Macha,
Last February in a cold grey cell…


In Irish mythology, Macha is a goddess linked with horses, battle, and sovereignty. She is said to have collected the heads of the slain, which were known as “Macha’s acorn crop”. Though possibly a triple goddess herself, she is often seen as one aspect of the Irish triple goddess of battle and sovereignty, the Morrigan.