Not much is truly known about the exact speech that Owen Roe O’Neill gave to his men at the Battle of Benburb, and several different transcriptions of the speech have been given, largely based on piecemeal reconstructions of the speech. The following such transcription of Owen Roe’s speech was published in the New Zealand Tablet on August 16, 1873.
Gentlemen and fellow soldiers! Know that those who stand before you ready to fight, are those that banished you, your wives, and children from your lands and houses, and make you seek your bread and livelihood in strange places. Now you have arms in your hands as good as they have, and you are gentlemen as well as they are, you are the flower of Ulster, descended from an ancient and honourable a stock of people as any in Europe. This land you and your predecessors have possessed about three thousand years. All Christendom know your quarrel is good – to fight for your native birth-right and for the religion which your forefathers professed and maintained since Christianity came first to this land. So now is the time to consider your distressed and slavish condition; you have arms in your hands, you are as numerous as they are; and now try your valour and your strength on those who have banished you, and now resolve to destroy you, bud and branch. So let your manhood be seen by your push of pike and I will engage if you do so, by God’s assistance and the intercession of his Blessed Mother and all the Holy Saints in Heaven, that the day will be your own. Your word is Sancta Maria; and so in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, advance, and give not fire till you are within pike-length.