Joe McDonnell lyrics

The Wolfe Tones

Oh me name is Joe McDonnell
From Belfast town I came
That city I will never see again
For in the town of Belfast
I spent many happy days
I loved that town in oh so many ways
For it's there I spent my childhood
And found for me a wife
I then set out to make for her a life
But all my young ambition
Met with bitterness and hate
I soon found myself inside a prison gate

And you dare to call me a terrorist
While you look down your gun
When I think of all the deeds that you have done.
You have plundered many nations
Divided many lands
You have terrorized their people
You ruled with an iron hand
And you brought this reign of terror to my land

Through those many months internment
In the Maidstone and the Maze
I thought about my land throughout those days
Why my country was divided
Why I was now in jail
Imprisoned without crime or without trial
And though I love my country
I am not a bitter man
I've seen cruelty and injustice at first hand
So then one faithful morning
I shook bold freedom's hand
For right or wrong I tried to free my land

And you dare to call me a terrorist
While you look down your gun
When I think of all the deeds that you have done.
You have plundered many nations
Divided many lands
You have terrorized their people
You ruled with an iron hand
And you brought this reign of terror to my land

Then one cold October's morning
Trapped in a lion's den
I found myself in prison once again
I was committed to the H-Blocks
For fourteen years or more
On the "blanket" the conditions they were poor
Then a hunger strike we did commence
For the dignity of man
But it seemed to me that no one gave a damn
But now I am a saddened man
I've watched my comrades die
If only people cared or wondered why

And you dare to call me a terrorist
While you look down your gun
When I think of all the deeds that you have done.
You have plundered many nations
Divided many lands
You have terrorized their people
You ruled with an iron hand
And you brought this reign of terror to my land

May God shine on you, Bobby Sands
For the courage you have shown
May your glory and your fame be widely known
And Francis Hughes and Ray McCreesh
Who died unselfishly
And Patsy O'Hara, and the next in line is me
And those who lie behind me
May your courage be the same
And I pray to God my life is not in vain
I was sad and bitter once a year
Of nineteen eighty one
For every pain I've lost and nothing's won...

Song Details

Joe McDonnell
Joe McDonnell 1950 - 1981
at Wikipedia

Writer: Brian Warfield from the Irish Rebel Folk Band - The Wolfe Tones

Brief: The 1981 Irish Hunger Strike was a hunger protest in Northern Ireland by Irish Republican prisoners during the Troubles. The song is narrated in the first person through the eyes of Joe McDonnell... his home, his love, his ambition, the injustices that surrounded him, his patriotism and love of his country and his preparedness to die for it.

IRA Volunteer and Hunger Striker Joe McDonnell, from Lenadoon in west Belfast, was the fifth Hunger Striker to die due to the inflexibility of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government. He passed away at 5:15am on Wednesday 8 July 1981 after 61 agonizing days on the Hunger Strike.

The following is an excerpt from An Phoblacht (The Republic) - a monthly newspaper published by Sinn Féin in Ireland. It relates to a speech given by John Joe McGirl at the funeral of Joe McDonnell:

After the blessing, conducted by Father Matthew Wallace, John Joe McGirl, Chairperson of Leitrim County Council and election agent for Joe McDonnell in the 26-County general election, gave the oration.
"He has died rather than debase the cause he served, rather than live with the forced tag of criminality on him. His courage is an inspiration, not only to his fellow prisoners, not only to the Irish people who admire such courage – the world stands in wonder and admiration, accepting that men such as Joe McDonnell are not criminals but patriots..."
In conclusion he said:
“We will build Joe McDonnell a memorial, we will build so many of his comrades who are buried here a memorial, and their memorials will be the freedom and the unity of the Irish people.”

References:
Maidstone - HM Prison Maidstone is a Category C men's prison, located in Maidstone, Kent, England.
Maze - Her Majesty's Prison Maze (previously Long Kesh Detention Centre, and known colloquially as The Maze or H-Blocks) was a prison in Northern Ireland that was used to house alleged paramilitary prisoners during the Troubles from mid-1971 to mid-2000.
Sinn Féin - an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin translates to "Ourselves" or "We Ourselves" meaning the Irish people governing themselves, rather than being part of a political union with Great Britain.

Category: Rebel Song

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