The Galway Rebel Boys Song Lyrics
The Wild Geese recorded this song. These words are taken from a very old cassette recording of a marvelous folk group: The wild geese folk group ( flight 2) from Galway: The lyrics were sent to me by Peter Rosska, thanks very much to Peter.
O Sean, mo mhic behold those men
Where are they going to now ?
Why do they leave their work undone ?
their horses, carts and ploughs,
Son, it is an urgent task
It fills my heart with fear.
These men I know as well as you
Are Irish volunteers.
Their work is urgent, father dear
The young man did reply
And for that great accomplishment
Full many's the young man died.
I'm going to join that gallant band
I'm going without a sigh,
And I'll joing my Galway Rebel Boys
From the Town Of Athenry.
''Sean, a mhic, Sean a gra,
Don't leave your native home,
Your sisters three your brother and me
Will then be all along,
You are our one and chief support
And now your going away,
Which means starvation at our door
Approaching days of May.
Father dear don't tempt me now
Or try to cloud my ears
I know my country's calling
When I hear my comrades cheers
I know my country's calling
Though my lot may be to die
But I'll joing my Galway Rebel Boys
From the town of Athenry.
Brave Captain Mellows has escaped
Evaded English spies,
He's landed up in Dblin,
In a holy Priest's desguise
Dressed up as a pedlar
He has tramped it all the way
He got safe through the midlands
And last night slept in Roscrea.
With bayonets fixed we'll meet him
And We'll strike for our native land
We'll never leave down our weapons
Until we get the stern command
I'll fight beneath his leadership
T'will fill my heart with joy
To joing his gallant rebel boys
From the town of Athenry
The Galway Rebel Boys
In 1916 the revolutionary forces in Ireland took advantage of the British Armies involvement in the great war and made yet another attempt to end British domination in Ireland. At Easter they took control of Dublin and some rural areas. The great majority of the insurgents were members of the Irish Volunteers, later knows as the Irish Republican Army.
Liam Mellows was the organiser of the Irish Volunteers in the wes of Ireland and during Easter week he raised over 1,000 men in County Galway, capturing the police barracks in Oranmore and holding the town of Athenry. Due to lack of communication with the provisinal government in Dublin and being short of arms the Galway Rebels were forced to disperse. Liam Mellows disguised himself as a priest and escaped to Dublin and later to the U.S.A.
Some years later Mellows was a leader of the anti partition forces during the Irish civil war and was captured and executed in Dublin in November 1922. While imprisoned in Mountjoy Prison he often played his favorite on the fiddle, - The Old Irish Airs.
The only son is of great importance in rural Ireland, becoming the farmer and maintaining the family as his father ages. In this song the father, although he supports the stand Mellows and the volunteers in their fight for Irish freedom, neverthe less, asks his son to remain on the farm to meet the family needs. Tommy learned this song from his father, John Small and the text is by Thomas Bairead.