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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
AmyLove Lyr Req: Terrorist or Dreamer (Mick Hanly) (8) RE: Lyr Req: Terrorist or Dreamer (Mick Hanly) 05 Apr 16

From Mick Hanly's site ( here )

A Chara Mick, can you post the lyrics of a song I heard you sing with Moving hearts (In St Francis Xavier hall, I think) they said he was a rebel then but is he a rebel now – can I buy a recording of this anywhere? tremendous stuff – delighted to heard your still gigging. Hopefully you'll get up to Derry/Donegal one of these days. le dea ghui – Tony


The Terrorist Or The Dreamer

Verse 1.
In Sackville Street the curfew drove the restless out of sight
The Black and Tans marched up and down the moon shone cold and bright
The shot was like a whip crack, took the first man of his feet
He died on bloodied cobblestones, while his comrades combed the streets
They called up the reinforcements, dragged the people from their beds
They were screaming, "get the bastard" but t'was fear was in their heads
They found him in a cellar he was only seventeen
But he was fighting for his country; he was dying for the green
The sergeant took him by the head and beat him to the ground
And into this young man's body he emptied every round
"Come and take a look," he cried as he marched his troops away
They came in stony silence such a price to have to pay
Some knelt and prayed beside him, but t'was too late anyhow
They said he was a rebel then, but he's a hero now.

Verse 2.
In sixty-six this country sang the praises of the dead
We didn't call them rebels then, we used patriot instead
On every household TV screen we saw how hard they fought
How they spilled their lifeblood, how freedom had been bought
And garden gates were opened up to silent motorcades
The cannons boomed, the flags unfurled, and solemn wreaths were laid
And prayers for those departed were called for loud and clear
For those who had been outlawed, ah but that was another year
The veterans lined up stiff and proud, their white hair in the wind
Their pride pinned to their gabardines and their thoughts upon their friends
Bitter wounds burst open and the scars of history
Were flung into our faces in stark reality
Just up the road from Sackville Street, but things are different now
They said he was a rebel then but he's a hero now.

Verse 3.
Along the falls the soldiers push with glances left and right
Kids of the English working class, soldiers overnight
Tossed into a melting pot of bitterness and strife
Never understanding and fearing for their life
Outside the Smithwicks Brewery a bomb takes two away
The bomber's work is over he's finished for the day
The terrorist or the dreamer the savage or the brave?
It depends whose vote you're trying to catch
Whose face you're trying to save
There's tea and cake in Downing Street and whispers in the hall
There are moves to cure Rhodesia our backs are to the wall
There's panic down in Leinster House where words are seldom scarce
Send someone to Glasnevin quick to remember Patrick Pearse
Once more his crucifixion, it all seems strange somehow
They said he was a rebel then but he's a hero now.

Words and Music: Mick Hanly.


Note: This song was written in the late 70's when the North of Ireland was in turmoil.
My Christian Brother's education had left me in no doubt, but that England was indeed 'Perfidious Albion'. I'd also been to Sean South's funeral in Limerick as a boy, and the year long celebrations of the 1916 Rising in 1966 were still fresh in my mind…what was now exercising my thoughts, was how the Southern government and a large proportion of its citizens were differentiating between Patrick Pearse and IRA. This is a long-winded treatment of a question, which is still relevant today. The song failed in live performances, more because of length than sentiment. I performed the song with Moving Hearts about a half dozen times before it was dropped, due to its devastating effect on the gig's momentum. The writing is naοve and ham-fisted in places, but I don't think that diminishes the sincerity of the effort. To my knowledge, there is no recording of this song in existence.

I don't know when the above was written, but there is a recording of this song. You can listen to it here.

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