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The Battle of Clontarf / Brian Boru's March

(Words and Music: McGettigan and Whelan, Helmar/McGuinness Whelan Music; Produced and arranged by David Gossage)


Key of F; Guitar: Capo 5th fret, C

Some years back I asked my brother Kevin to send me a couple of albums by the great Dublin singer and song-collector Frank Harte. This song was on his album "Daybreak and a Candle-End". Although it refers to a more pervasive view of Irish people that was prevalent in days gone by, stereotypes still die hard. Over the years I have played in a lot of pubs and bars. There are still some people who never seem to get beyond the 'Paddywhackery' perception of Ireland and Irish Music.

Here I am from Donegal
I feel quite discontented
To see the way that we’re run down
Not highly represented
For it seems it is a general rule
To make out Pat a knave or fool
But never mind he’ll play it cool
And stand up for old Ireland

Do me justice, treat me fair
And I won’t be discontented
And I won’t be laughed at anywhere
But highly represented

Now Mr. Punch with his literature
He treats us very badly
And when he draws our caricature
He depicts us rather sadly
With crooked limbs and villainous face
He thus depicts the Irish race
We think it is a sad disgrace
And we say so in old Ireland

When on the stage I do appear
With a thundering big shillelagh
In a ragged coat and a tattered hat
You think I come out gaily
With not a word of common sense
They don’t know when they give offense
But carry on at Pat’s expense
Why don’t they come to Ireland

They say we are dirty and lazy got
But where’s the use to grumble
And if they visit an Irish cot
They’re made welcome though tis humble
But in public works the country round
Or where hard work it is to be found
In the railway tunnels underground
You’ll find the boys from Ireland

Tis very true I like a glass
It makes me feel quite frisky
I am very fond of an Irish lass
But I’m partial to the whiskey
I am very quiet when left alone
But I do what I want with what’s my own
And woe be to the foes of home
Who would dare run down old Ireland