CAIN logo
CAIN Web Service

Extracts from 'Songs of Resistance 1969-1982



[CAIN_Home]
[Key_Events] Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
[Music]

Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

The following pamphlet was originally published by Irish Freedom Press Book Bureau. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the members of the CAIN Project. If anyone knows who currently holds copyright for this booklet please contact the CAIN Project. The CAIN Project would welcome other material which meets our guidelines for contributions.

book cover These extracts are taken from the book:
Songs of Resistance 1968-1982
Third Enlarged Edition (1982)
Paperback 88pp Out of Print

Originally published by:
Irish Freedom Press Book Bureau
44 Parnell Square
Dublin 1

CAIN is attempting to establish contact with the copyright holder(s) of this booklet. If anyone knows who currently holds copyright for this booklet please contact the CAIN Project.


Contents

Men Behind the Wire

The Battle of South Armagh

The Ballad of Long Kesh

The Long March to Derry

Grá Mo Chroí

The Battle of Derry

Óró Sé Do Bheatha ‘Bhaile

Bring Them Home

Only Our Rivers Run Free

London’s Derry

My Little Armalite

The Ballad of John Greene

Ballad of Francis Hughes

Kevin Coen

The Ballad of Bobby Sands

This Land is Your Land

Who Fears to Speak of Easter Week?

Thirteen Crosses

Freedom’s Sons

The Sniper’s Promise

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

The Boys of the Old Brigade

God Bless this Land

Take Courage from the Blanket Men

Tom Williams

The Man from God-Knows Where

James Larkin

On the Blanket

James Connolly

Brussels - The Three Brass Balls

Lonely Banna Strand

Ninety Miles from Dublin

Ten Deathless Heroes Die - And Ireland Lives

Provo Lullaby

The Orange and The Green

Listen to the Sound of Marching Feet

The Magnificent Seven

The Aldergrove Plane

The Great Escape

Fir Na Cise Fada

The Luck of the Irish

Lynch’s Merry Men

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Broad Black Brimmer

The Men of Edentubber

The Ballad of Billy Reid

The Three Flowers

Take It Down from the Mast

Follow Me up to Carlow

The Lid of My Granny’s Bin

Free the People

The Reluctant Patriot

Four Green Fields

The Toome Eel Fishery

The Capitalist Game

The Slimey Man

The 1913 Lockout

The Helicopter Song

Maintain the Border Haug hey

The Ballad of Francis Hughes

The Rhythm of Time

The Ballad of Michael Gaughan

Ann Devlin

Say Hello to the Provos

Over the Wall

The Great Escape

H-Block Long Kesh

Nineteen Men

The Men of the Revolution

The Magherafelt Martyrs

England’s Vietnam

Shall My Soul Pass Through Ireland?

Ballad of Thomas Smyth

Freedom Walk

Rubber Bullets

Battle of Bogside

The Derry Brigade

Show Me the Man

Derry’s Streets

Come By the Hills

Sean South

The Ballad of Hugh Coney - He Died to be a Free Man

Belfast Brigade

The Rifles of the IRA

Eamonn Lafferty

Oration by Padraic Pearse

Tá An tlarthar Beo

Poblacht Na hÉireann

Free Belfast

The Birds of Freedom

H-Block Song

Amhrán Na bhFiann

The Gates of Portlaoise

 

 

MEN BEHIND THE WIRE

Chorus:

Armoured cars and tanks and guns
Came to take away our sons,
But every man will stand behind
The men behind the wire

Through the little streets of Belfast
In the dark of early morn
British soldiers came marauding
Wrecking little homes with scorn.
Heedless of the crying children,
Dragging fathers from their beds,
Beating sons while helpless mothers
Watched the blood pour from their heads

Not for them a judge and jury
Nor indeed a crime at
Being Irish means they’re guilty
So we’re guilty one and all.
Round the world the truth will echo,
Cromwell’s men are here again
England’s name again is sullied
In the eyes of honest men

Proudly march behind our banner,
Firmly Stand behind our men.
We will have them free to help us
Build a nation once again.
On the people step together
Proudly, firmly on our way
Never fear and never falter
Till the boys come home to stay

By Pat McGuigan

Contents


THE BALLAD OF LONG KESH

There’s a place just outside Lisburn
A place we all should know,
Where a band of Irish rebels
Is held by Prior’s crew.
They are forced to live in cages
Like the animals at Bellevue
But the spirit of 1916
Will surely see them through

The men that’s in that prison
They come from near and far,
Some from the Derry Bogside,
And Omagh town so dear,
And some of them from Belfast
From the Markets and the Bone
From the narrow streets of Ardoyne,
And from all around Tyrone

On that black day in August
When Faulkner showed his hand
He thought that by internment
He could shake our rebel band,
But the boys of Ballymurphy
How they showed the way that night,
And they showed the English soldiers
How Irishmen could fight

Long Kesh is known to everyone
The system must be broke,
Ardoyne, New Lodge, and the Falls Road
Will see the system choke.
No more the Special Powers Act,
Those cruel deeds will revoke,
And Long Kesh will be the stone
On which the system broke

So come all you Irish people
Be you far or near,
Remember our brave prisoners
In Long Kesh this year,
And by civil disobedience
Or by your chosen means
Let’s make our stand until the day
Each one of them is free

Contents


ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE

When apples still grow in November
When blossoms still grow from each tree
When leaves are still green in December,
It’s then that our land will be free.
I wander her hills and her valleys
And still through my sorrow I see
A land that has never known freedom
And only her rivers run free

I drink to the death of her manhood
Those men who would rather have died
Than to live in the cold chains of bondage
They’d bring back their rights where denied.
Oh, where are you now when we need you?
What burns where the flame used to be?
Are you gone like the snows of last winter
And will only our rivers run free?

How sweet is life, but we’re crying
How mellow the wine, but we’re dry
How fragrant the rose, but it’s dying
How gentle the wind, but it sighs.
What good is youth when it’s ageing?
What joy is in eyes that can’t see?
When sorrow and sadness have flowers
And still only our rivers run free

Contents


MY LITTLE ARMALITE

(Air: It’s Home, Boys, Home)
And it’s down in the Bogside, that’s where I long to be,
Lying in the dark with a Provo company,
A comrade on me left and another on me right
And a clip of ammunition for my little Armalite

I was stopped by a soldier, said he, You are a swine’,
He beat me with his baton and he kicked me in the groin,
I bowed and I scraped, sure me manners were polite
But all the time I’m thinking of me little Armalite

And it’s down in Crossmaglen, sure that’s where I long to be,
Lying in the dark with a Provo company,
A comrade on me left and another on me right
And a clip of ammunition for my little Armalite

Sure a brave RUC man came up into our street
Six hundred British soldiers were gathered round his feet
‘Come out, ye cowardly Fenians’, said he, ‘come out and fight’.
But he cried, ‘I’m only joking’, when he heard the Armalite

Sure it’s down in Kilwilkie, that’s where I long to be,
Lying in the dark with a Provo company,
A comrade on me left and another on me right
And a clip of ammunition for my little Armalite

Sure, the army came to visit me, ‘twas in the early hours,
With Saladins and Saracens and Ferret armoured cars
They thought they had me cornered, but I gave them all a fright
With the armour piercing bullets of my little Armalite

And it’s down in the Falls Road, that’s where I long to be,
Lying in the dark with a Provo company,
A comrade on me left and another on me right
And a clip of ammunition for my little Armalite

When Tuzo came to Belfast, he said, ‘The battle’s won’,
Said General Ford, ‘We’re winning sir, we have them on the run’.
But corporals and privates on patrol at night,
Said, ‘Send for reinforcements, it’s the bloody Armalite

And it’s up in Ballymurphy, that’s where I long to be,
Lying in the dark with a Provo company,
A comrade on me left and another on me right
And a clip of ammunition for my little Armalite

Contents


BALLAD OF FRANCIS HUGHES

With the wind that blows down through sad Derry
Came a Volunteer brave and so bold,
He took on the might of the British
For the honour of Ireland to uphold.
He led a brave column of volunteers
Against foreign soldiers of scorn,
And in the little town of Bellaghy
Francie Hughes, Hunger Striker, was born

Chorus:

So let’s sing of this brave gallant soldier,
Who on Hunger Strike proudly did stand,
With his comrades McCreesh and OHara,
Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Bobby Sands

We heard how he marched o’er the mountains,
Always ready to meet with the toe.
And how he attacked on a hillside
Then vanished with the winds that blow

So let’s sing of this brave gallant soldier,
Who on Hunger Strike proudly did choose,
To stand for the rights of his comrades,
We remember you, brave Francis Hughes

The wind still blows down through sad Derry,
And it echoes in valley and glen,
And high round the hills of Bellaghy
Francie Hughes watches over his men

Contents


THE BALLAD OF BOBBY SANDS

Come gather round me one and all
My song to you I’ll sing,
In memory of a brave young Irishman,
Who would not concede defeat,
From his stand would not retreat.
I sing of the gallant Bobby Sands,
Bobby Sands.
Yes I sing of the late great Bobby Sands

He organised the hunger strike
To win and change, reform,
To stop the evil tyrants in their craze,
To regain the five demands
He took his young life in his hands
For the betterment of comrades in Armagh
and in the Maze
Armagh and the H-Blocks of the Maze

They tried to break your spirit
But no way could they succeed,
The phoenix in your heart they tried to quell
With their beatings, degradation,
All in vain totheirfrustration,
For the more they tried, the more you would rebel
You would rebel,
With dignity your principle did swell

But freedom was to come to you
On a rain soaked Tuesday morn —
From the heavens tears of patriots were shed
With the joy that you are free
To walk with Tone and Connolly,
Forever live the name of Bobby Sands
We shall endear
Your name, to foe shall always threaten tear

So to all you people
My song to you I’ve sung
In memory of a brave young Belfast man
Who would not concede defeat,
From his stand would not retreat.
I sing of the gallant Bobby Sands,
Bobby Sands.
Yes I sing of the late great Bobby Sands

Contents


WHO FEARS TO SPEAK OF EASTER WEEK?

Who fears to speak of Easter Week?
Who dares its fate deplore?
The red gold flame of Eire’s name
Confronts the world once more!
Oh! Irishmen, remember then,
And raise your heads with pride,
For great men and straight men
Have fought for you and died.

The spirit wave that came to save
The peerless Celtic soul,
From earthly stain of greed and gain
Had caught them in its roll;
Had swept them high to do or die,
To sound a trumpet call;
For true men though few men
To follow one and all.

Upon their shield a stainless field,
With virtues blazoned bright;
With Temperance and Purity
And Truth and Honour dight
So now they stand at God’s Right Hand,
Who framed their dauntless clay,
Who taught them and brought them
The glory of today

The storied page of this our age
Will save our land from shame
The ancient foe had boasted — ho!
That Irishmen were tame
They bought their souls for paltry doles,
And told the world of slaves
That lie men! shall die, men!
In Pearse and Plunkett’s graves

The brave who’ve gone to linger on
Beneath the tyrant’s heel —We know they pray another day
With clash of clanging steel
Now from their cell their voices swell,
And loudly call on you
Then ask, men! the task, men!
That yet remains to do

Contents


TAKE ME HOME TO MAYO
(BALLAD OF MICHAEL GAUGHAN)


By SEAMUS ROBINSON © 1974

(For Vol. Michael Gaughan, IRA, who died on hunger strike in a British prison at 7.20 pm on the 3rd of June 1974. His final request was: "Take me home to Mayo".)

(CHORUS)

Take me home to Mayo, across the Irish Sea;
Home to dear old Mayo, where once I roamed so free.
Take me home to Mayo, there let my body lie;
Home at last in Mayo, beneath an Irish sky.

1.
My name is Michael Gaughan, from Ballina I came;
I saw my people suffering and swore to break their chain –
I raised the flag in England, prepared to fight or die –
Far away from Mayo, beneath an Irish sky.

(repeat chorus)

2.
My body cold and hungry, in Parkhurst Gaol I lie;
For loving of my country, on hunger strike I die --
I have just one last longing, I pray you’ll not deny –
Bury me in Mayo, beneath an Irish sky.

( chorus twice )

Contents


THE GATES OF PORTLAOISE

By SEAMUS ROBINSON © 1974

Air: Five Miles From Bangor To Donaghadee
(19 IRA prisoners escaped when the gates of
Portlaoise Prison were blasted open on August 18th 1974.)

On the 18th of August in seventy-four,
In Portlaoise Prison some Provies felt sore;
So they held a big meeting and made up their mind,
To be out of that prison before closing time.
Closing time – closing time,
To be out of that prison before closing time

Up spoke a brave Provie: now here’s what we’ll do,
We’ll get us some gelly and blast our way through.
Leave word for the Governor and say we can’t wait,
For we’ve unfinished business outside of the gate.
Of the gate – of the gate,
For we’ve unfinished business outside of the gate.

Before very long the big bombs were a-fizzin’,
The explosions were heard ninety miles from the prison;
The gates of Portlaoise were blown away,
And out strolled nineteen of the bold I.R.A.
Aye-ah-ray --- aye-ah-ray,
And out strolled nineteen of the bold I.R.A.

Oh they say that in Dublin it is very sad,
There’s poor Mr. Cosgrave, he took it quite bad;
And Cooney’s going loony, he cries all the day,
‘Cause he couldn’t keep hold of the bold I.R.A.
Aye-ah-ray --- aye-ah-ray,
‘Cause he couldn’t keep hold of the bold I.R.A.

Now all Irish people wherever you be,
Salute the brave Provies who fight to be free;
And always remember that wonderful day,
When the boys blew the gates of Portlaoise away.
Ah – away --- ah – away,
When the boys blew the gates of Portlaoise away.

Publication Contents


CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within the University of Ulster.


go to the top of this page go to the top of this page
ARK logo
Last modified :