The Patriot Game

The Patriot Game

 

Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing,
For the love of one’s country is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

My name is O’Hanlon, and I’ve just turned sixteen.
My home is in Monaghan, where I was weaned.
I learned all my life cruel England to blame,
So now I am part of the patriot game.

This Ireland of ours has too long been half free;
Six counties lie under John Bull’s tyranny.
But still De Valera is greatly to blame
For shirking his part in the patriot game.

They told me how Connolly was shot in his chair,
His wounds from the fighting all bloody and bare.
His fine body twisted, all battered and lame;
They soon made me part of the patriot game.

I don’t mind a bit if I shoot down police
They are lackeys for war, never guardians of peace
And yet at deserters I’m never let aim
The rebels who sold out the patriot game.

It’s nearly two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold IRA,
I’ve read of our heroes, and I wanted the same,
To play out my part in the patriot game.

And now as I lie here, my body all holes,
I think of those traitors who bargained in souls
And I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those quislings who sold out the patriot game.

 

The Patriot Game is an Irish ballad about an incident during the Border Campaign launched by the Irish Republican Army during the 1950s to bring about the reunification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. It is written by Dominic Behan, younger brother of playwright Brendan Behan, to the tune of an earlier folksong, The Merry Month Of May.

 

The ballad tells the story of Fergal O’Hanlon, an IRA Volunteer from Ballybay, County Monaghan who is killed at the age of 20 in an attack on Brookeborough Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in County Fermanagh on 1 January 1957. The operation is devised and led by Sean Garland, an IRA man from Dublin. Another volunteer, Seán South from Limerick, is also killed during the raid.

 

Liam Clancy – Patriot Game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBW6UQa8Fc

 

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