Grace lyrics by Jim McCann

... just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger

As we gather in the chapel, here in old Kilmainham Gaol,
I think about these past few weeks, or will they say we failed?
From our school days, they have told us we must yearn for liberty
Yet all I want in this dark place is to have you here with me.

Oh Grace, just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger
They'll take me out at dawn and I will die
With all my love, I'll place this wedding ring upon your finger,
There won't be time to share our love, for we must say goodbye

Now I know it's hard for you my love to ever understand
The love I bear for these brave men, my love for this dear land
But when Padraic called me to his side, down in the G.P.O.
I had to leave my own sick bed, to him I had to go.

Oh Grace, just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger
They'll take me out at dawn and I will die
With all my love, I'll place this wedding ring upon your finger,
There won't be time to share our love, for we must say goodbye

Now as the dawn is breaking, my heart is breaking too
On this May morn as I walk out, my thoughts will be of you
And I'll write some words upon the wall so everyone will know
I loved so much that I could see His Blood Upon The Rose

Oh Grace, just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger
They'll take me out at dawn now I must die
With all my love, I'll place this wedding ring upon your finger,
There won't be time to share our love, for we must say goodbye

Oh there won't be time to share our love, for we must say goodbye

Song Details

Please note certain references in the lyrics:
  • Gaol is the Irish & British spelling of jail
  • G.P.O. refers to the General Post Office
  • 'I see His Blood Upon the Rose', is a famous poem written by Joseph Mary Plunkett... see below.

Composers: Sean and Frank O’Meara

Grace Gifford Plunkett

Brief: It tells the story about Joseph Plunkett and his sweetheart, Grace Gifford. Joseph was a scholar and poet who was one of the planners of the Easter Rising of 1916 which took place in an attempt to end British Rule in Ireland.

He had tuberculosis from his childhood and had surgery days prior to the Easter Rising for which he was largely responsible. Joseph was present at the General Post Office during the uprising with other leaders including Michael Collins, Tom Clarke, and Patrick Pearce. The battle was fought over seven long days which ended in their defeat.

After the surrender, Joseph Plunkett along with other leaders were imprisoned and court marshalled. Before his execution by firing squad, Joseph married his sweetheart Grace Gifford, an Irish artist and cartoonist who was active in the Republican movement.

She was a convert to the Catholic religion, and it is interesting to note that her sister was also a convert who married Joseph's best friend. He too was executed for his role in the Easter Rising.

Grace is a heart-felt song written about this incident. It tells of the moments prior to Joseph's execution, his love for his beloved country, and his undying love for his sweetheart.

You can visit the Grace Plunkett website - here you will find her bibliography, photos, artwork, more information about the Easter Rising, the poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett, and so much more...

Category: Irish Folk Song / 1916 Rising

Popular Recording Artist: Jim McCann - his rendition of this song is outstanding. He seems to capture the emotions which Joseph felt prior to execution... longing, sadness, pride and devotion, and sings as if he is playing the role of Joseph himself.

Logo The song by Jim McCann is featured on the album Grace (November 1, 2008).

The Poetry

Joseph Plunkett
I See His Blood Upon The Rose

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.

All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.


- Joseph Mary Plunkett -
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