James Connolly


A great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham
Their heads all uncovered they knelt to the ground
For inside that grim prison lay a brave Irish soldier
His life for his country about to lay down

He went to his death like a true son of Ireland
The firing party he bravely did face
Then the order rang out: “Present arms and fire”
James Connolly fell into a ready-made grave

The black flag was hoisted, the cruel deed was over
Gone was the man who loved Ireland so well
There was many a sad heart in Dublin that morning
When they murdered James Connolly, the Irish rebel

God’s curse on you England, you cruel-hearted monster
Your deed they would shame all the devils in hell
There are no flowers blooming, the shamrock is growing
On the grave of James Connoily, the Irish rebel

Many years have gone by since the Irish Rebellion
When the guns of Britannia they loudly did speak
And the bold l.R.A. they stood shoulder to shoulder
As the blood from their bodies flowed down Sackville Street

The Four Courts at Dublin, the English bombarded
The spirit of freedom they tried hard to quell
But above all the din rose the cry “No Surrender”
‘Twas the voice of James Connolly, the Irish rebel

Here’s an introduction written by Liam MacGabhann which is featured on The Wolfe Tones album Let The People Sing.

The man was all shot through
that came today into the barrack square
And a soldier I, I am not proud to say
that we killed him there
They brought him from the prison hospital
and to see him in that chair
I swear his smile would, would far more quickly
call a man to prayer

Maybe, maybe I don’t understand
this thing that makes these rebels die
Yet all men love freedom
and the spring clear in the sky
I wouldn’t do this deed again
for all that I hold by
As I gazed down my rifle at his breast
but then, then a soldier I

They say he was different, kindly too apart
from all the rest
A lover of the poor –
his wounds ill dressed
He faced us like a man
who knew a greater pain
Than blows or bullets ere the world began:
died he in vain

Ready, Present, and him just smiling,
Christ I felt my rifle shake
His wounds all open
and around his chair a pool of blood
And I swear his lips said “fire”
before my rifle shot that cursed lead
And I, I was picked
to kill a man like that, James Connolly