Did you hear of "Maura Ru" — Red Mary? She
Betrayed her absent husband: Queen, Tyrant,
Red murdress hated by the tenantry
She tortured for the craic, and racked by rent.
Lascivious "Maura Ru" — Godless, shameless
Red haired glutton inside her castle hall;
Young vicious steward to a husband blameless
But for you! Lovers? Taken against some wall...
Legend: therein Clare memory** records
And heightens truth found too in written words:
Wife of a dead Confederate* pistoleer,
She married one of Cromwell's overlords:
In these old helot tales, pure hate inheres,
Outlasting fact, alive three hundred years.
* The Catholic 'Confederation of Kilkenny'.
** The stories I heard as a child are dim now,
except for how she met her end. Her avenging
husband was coming home and, in a panic, she
fled on horseback. She looked back, perhaps
at pursuers, and didn't duck in time as the
speeding horse went under a bridge, knocking
her head off.