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The Sleeping Rose

Barry’s dead and Cork’s asleep,
McSweeney’s cause been sold.
And the blood still lies on Kerry’s roads,
Unwashed by winds of old.
The hares cross lonely, barren ways,
Where once columns tramped the night,
And but a few still whisper Tracey’s name,
By hearthened fires in dancing light.

The Rose of Munster’s dead boys,
She choked upon her blood,
And Barry’s men died in her screams,
Trampled down into her mud.
Who cares for Kerry’s lonely graves,
The King of Cashel’s gone to Clare,
And those impoverished downtrodden fold,
As ever — laid naked, poor and bare.

Barry’s dead, does no-one hear?
Kilmicheal’s road — what worth?
While Irishmen wear rusty chains,
That beset them by their birth.
Oh! Barry’s gone let Munster weep,
His pleading ghost cries in the night,
But the Munster rose will only bloom again,
When Munster men join freedom’s fight.



BOBBY SANDS was twenty seven years old when he died on the sixty sixth day of hunger-strike in the H-Block prison hospital, Long Kesh, on the 5th May 1981. The young IRA Volunteer who had spent almost the last nine years of his short life in prison as a result of his Irish republican activities was, by the time of his death, world-famous having been elected to the british parliament and having withstood pressures, political and moral (including an emissary from Pope John Paul II) , for him to abandon his fast which was aimed at countering a criminalisation policy by the british government. His name became a household word in Ireland, and his sacrifice (as did that of those who followed him) overturned british propaganda on Ireland and had a real effect in advancing the cause of Irish freedom.

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'Irishmen wear rusty chains', Bobby Sands implores Irish people to rise up again and break the chains of injustice