Τρίτη, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Sinéad O'Connor - Irish Ways and Irish Laws





Once upon a time there were

Irish Ways and Irish Laws

Villages of Irish blood

Waking to the morning

Waking to the morning



Then the Vikings came around (1)

Turned us up and turned us down

Started building boats and towns

They tried to change our living

tried to change our living



Cromwell and his soldiers came (2)

Started centuries of shame

But they could not make us turn (3)

We are a river flowing

We're a river flowing



Again, again the soldiers came

Burnt our houses stole our grain

Shot the farmers in their fields

Working for livings

Working for a living



800 years we have been down (4)

The secret of the water sound

Has kept the spirit of a man

Above the pain descending

Above the pain descending



Today the struggle carries on

I wonder will I live so long

To see the gates being opened up (5)

To a people and their freedom

A people and their freedom



Once upon a time there was

Irish Ways and Irish Laws

Villages of Irish blood

Waking to the morning

Waking to the morning





Notes



(1)

The first documented Viking landing took place in 795. Until the

Anglo-Norman invasion in 1170 the Vikings would play an important

role in Ireland, both politically and economically. They created trade

routes, founded kingdoms, and built the first towns in Ireland,

including Dublin, Cork and Limerick.



(2)

Oliver Cromwell landed in Ireland in August 1649 at the head of a

huge army, by May 1650 he had crushed opposition in all but the West.

(By 1652 the Irish population had fallen to .7 m. In 1641 it had

been 1.5 m. By 1660 .5 m cattle were being exported annually to

England.)



(3)

Both Cromwell's and subsequent colonisation campaigns used the twin

techniques of "planting" English and Scotish settlers and forcing

some locals to change or "Turn" their religion to the Protestant

faith. So here he uses the ambiguity of the term "turn" to echo both

the image of the unbowed Irish peasant and a metaphor for Irish

History flowing like a un-turnable river.



(4)

Since the first English invasion in 1170



(5)

"Gates" here evokes both images of the be-sieged walled cities of the

17th century and also of the present day prison camps in the North

of Ireland which at the time the song was being written (in the late

1970's early 1980's) were the subject of much political campaigning

including Hunger Strikes by the inmates.