One stormy night in winter, when the sea rolled mountains high,

A barque with all sails spread O’Boyle, the pilot did descry

“To the boat, my men,” his order was, and hurried be ye all,

And try and save this distressed ship of the Coast of Donegal.

north island queen 1900s
North Island Queen moored near Rutland Island copyright National Library of Ireland


The men complied with willingness; O’Boyle his skill did show,

By guiding his boat o’er shoals and reefs while his men did ably row

The barque she flew her signal-distress it did proclaim-

And O’Boyle cried to his oarsmen “You are worthy of your fame.”


The barque was reached in safety; O’Boyle on deck he sprung,

The captain warmly greeted him saying, “your work it is well done.

“This barque I give you in command, to guide her safe to port,

“You’ll save our lives and cargo, if our ship you’ll keep afloat.”


O’Boyle he quick assented to the captain he did say,

“Your barque will be in harbour safe by dawning of the day;

“And for my risky labour and that of all my men

“You’ll pay in golden guineas a modest eight pounds ten.”


The captain smiled vexatiously, and of a trap thought he,

Saying “O’Boyle, for breaking pilot rules, my prisoner you must be;

“This rope in your possession is from my barque Mary Anne,

“Taken without permission, so your trial you must stand.”


As prisoner to Lifford Court the law did O’Boyle compel,

That brave and skilful pilot whom his neighbours loved so well;

The Judge he heard the accuser, and the jury to a man

Agreed that the pilot was a very guilty man.


The sentence it was heavy, shocking people far and near.

Banishment from home and kin and land he loved so dear.

To far off Van Diemen’s Land seven years he had to go-

The pride of Rutland Island, ‘twas a sad and cruel blow.

Author unknown