Song of Erin
Tommy Sands - © Elm Grove Music

This is a kind of album overture and a four-minute potted history of Ireland from mythological mists to present realities. The first verse refers to ancient tales, copied by Christian monks but told before books were written. Erin, the goddess of the magical Tuaithe De Danann, welcomes the Milesians but she can’t stop the battle that rages between the two groups. In the evening multitudes are slain but the next morning the dead arise and fight on better than ever. Eventually having concluded that they can never defeat each other they make a division of the island giving the day and everything above the ground to the more mundane Milesians and giving the night and everything below the ground to the De Dannan who seemed content since they were spirit people anyway.

Kings and Popes dominate history after that and poor people’s very survival often depended on following whatever flag or crosier that was waved at them. Borders were raised and pacts were made as minorities on both sides kept their heads down and Majoritarianism ruled Democracy. In the North there was rising and falling until one morning in early Good Friday 1998 we arose with a mutual understanding that the spirit of Peace could be best achieved not by what we could beat out of each other but by what we could afford to give to each other.


I’ll sing a song of Erin, goddess of the land
Milesians and De Danann fight to win her hand
They cannot beat each other but agree to share her name
That story was recorded when the Christians came

This Celtic Christianity grows away from Rome
Pope Adrian of England says Henry bring them home
A papal laudabiliter would sanctify the plan
Save their soul and to take their land

What’s around the corner
Not forgetting saying nothing
What’s around the corner
Second guessing history lessons
For tomorrow morning

Another day another way another Henry now
His highness and his holiness they have a blazing row
Ulster must be planted Natives want revenge
To hell or to Connaught Cromwell says

Remember 1690 liberty for all
Apart that is from all the penal laws 
A famine followed after that never should have been
Children's children remember Skibbereen

Each and Every generation rising up again
Martyr's blood is Pearse's flame
Isolated Loyalist in a fearful state
Charged with keeping the Catholic in his place
Civil rights are calling out burning for a change
Loyalists are calling it the thin edge of the wedge
RUC 'n B men or is it UDA Bombay Street and the IRA

Compromise is treachery that's what you hear them say
You're with us or against us there is no other way
But how can we have freedom if our neighbour is not free
It makes us only half of what we all can be
Gather round the table we all must have a say
Friday is a good time to begin another way
Darkness it is fading time to face the day
Who will rise and walk away, have we found another way.