This is a ballad I learnt when I was a schoolboy and enjoy singing to this day. It was written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883) a poet and professor of literature from Glenosheen, County Limerick. The song's viewpoint is that of a young man from Wexford about to sacrifice himself for Ireland in the 1798 rebellion against the British occupation regime. If you've seen Ken Loach's film 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' about our War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Civil War (1922–1923) you'll probably remember this ballad from fairly early on in the film. It's also been recorded by both Loreena McKennitt, and Lisa Gerrard both of them very good – I doubt you'll have much trouble finding videos of them singing it on YouTube, but this excellent choral version of it – which has particularly effective brief solos, deserves to be far far better known than it is.
Happy St. Patrick's day.
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