THE BLOOD STAINED BANDAGE
" Take away the blood stained bandage from off an Irish brow
We've fought and bled for Ireland we'll not desert her now".
The courage and disdain shown by Irishmen when facing death by firing squad is captured in the chorus of this stirring ballad.
Perhaps better known as the flags of the four provinces.
An island off the Atlantic coast of Ireland which Britain has tried to claim the Irish sentiments are to be found in the chorus.
BLACK AND TAN GUN
Every war has its "Unknown Soldier". This song tells of the last Irishman to die in the Tan War.
DRUMBOE MARTYRS ('TWAS THE FEAST OF ST. PATRICK)
" They had left their loved homes in Kerry's green vale
And one came from Derry, to fight for the Gael".
These opening lines of the second verse refer to Daniel Enright, Charlie Daly, and Tim O'Sullivan three Kerrymen, and Sean (Big Jack) Larkin who hailed from South Derry, who together were to meet death in the woods of Drumboe in Donegal in March 1923.
Of all the poems and ballads written about the deaths of the drumboe martyrs, surprisingly this beautiful ballad, to the haunting melody of "The Green Bushes", is still relatively unknown today.
"The Mountain of The Women" is the translation of the title. A favourite ballad, writtn by Charles Kickham.
WOODLANDS OF LOUGHGLYNN
" A noble Irishman was he, Sean Bergin was his name
He belonged to Tipperary, from Nenagh Town he came.
McDermott too was brave and true, from the plains of Ballinagare
He is missed from many a fireside, in the homes both near and far".
On a fine spring morning in April 1921, death came swiftly and violently to Sean Bergin and his comrade Stephen McDermott in the woodlands of Loughglynn. Taken prisoner by the "Black and Tans" after a fierce gun battle, they were brutally beaten and then shot. This ballad is as well known today as when first composed shortly after their deaths.
CONNOLLY WAS THERE
Many songs have been written about James Connolly. This rousing ballad is perhaps the most revealing of the humanity of the man. Wherever the poor, or the oppressed, were to be found, "Connolly was there".
" In farm and field and factory
In workshop, mine and mill
A flame was lit, a beacon bright
That flame is burning still, for Connolly was there
Connolly was there, brave brave undaunted
James Connolly was there".
The story of an exile who left Kerry as a young man, told by the same man nearing death after almost 60 years labouring in England. It's the story of many an Irishman.
"Our town Tralee they came to see and conquer with their savagery but Lynch's army made them flee from our beloved Kerry".
The Kingdom of Kerry always held a special place in the hearts of the Irish people. Running through this ballad, one can feel the special quality that made Kerry, Kerry.
" From rebel veins my life I knew
In rebel arms I lay
From rebel lips the lessons drew
That taught me day by day
And rocked to rest on rebel breast
Nursed on a rebel knee
There woke and grew, for weal or rue
A rebel heart in me".
These few lines of this ballad are offered as a tribute to Irish mothers, for the part they played, in the struggle for freedom through centuries of oppression.
This fine ballad, never before recorded, is little known outside Belfast. Sung to the air "Shawl of Galway Grey". It captures the indomitable Republican spirit in the "Lean Years" after the treaty. It deserves to be better known.
Barry's Column, Kilmichael, are names forever linked in history with the notorious "Black and Tans". It was at Kilmichael in rebel Cork, the "Tans" suffered their first major defeat at the hands of Barry's 3rd West Cork Brigade. The significance of this defeat was not lost on the rest of Ireland, nor indeed on London.
An anti-recruiting song of which there are several versions. This is Ray's.