"Boolavogue" is a famous Irish ballad commemorating the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It was composed by Patrick Joseph McCall in 1898, for the centenary of the Rebellion issued Irish Noíníns (Dublin 1894).
Father John Murphy of the town of Boolavogue in County Wexford led his parishioners in routing the Camolin Cavalry on 26 May 1798. The Wexford insurgents were eventually defeated at the Battle of Vinegar Hill on 21 June and Father Murphy and the other rebel leaders were hanged.
McCall, who also composed the popular Irish ballads "Kelly the Boy from Killanne" and "Follow Me up to Carlow", wrote "Boolavogue" to the old Irish air "Eochaill" ("Youghal Harbour"). The tune had previously been used in the Australian traditional song "Moreton Bay", about an Irish convict's travails in Australia, and was also used by Seán Ó Riada as part of the film score for Mise Éire (1959). The song is inspired by songs contemporary to the events of 1798 such as Come All You Warriors.
Liam Gaul  describes how Boolavogue is the song most closely associated with P J McCall and has become an anthem for County Wexford. Gaul points out that Boolavogue was not published in any of McCall’s literary works and was first printed in the Irish Independent on 18 June 1898 under the title of, Fr Murphy of the County Wexford.
This same title was still being used when it appeared in the 1922 edition of Padraig Breathnach’s Songs of the Gael. It was only later that it became more widely known as Boolavogue.
McCall was from Dublin but often visited Wexford and was familiar with its history and geography. Boolavogue contains several references to local characters and places that played a major part in the 1798 Irish Rebellion.
Father Murphy was a local priest who at first tried to persuade people not to take part in the rebellion. He changed his opinion and became a reluctant rebel leader after soldiers burnt down the homes of some of his parishioners while searching for rebels. The main antagonist of the song, Lieutenant Thomas Bookey, was the leader of the Yeoman Cavalry in the Boolavogue area.
- P. J. McCall
- Glory O! Glory O! The Life of PJ McCall by Liam Gaul, The History Press Ireland, 2011