The 1916 Rising in Music

“The Grand Old Dame Britannia”, attributed to Sean O’Casey (1916)
This is an anti-war song that circulated in Dublin in 1916 as British government stepped up attempts to recruit volunteers for the First World War.  It references the suspension of Home Rule, the Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond (who notoriously pledged Irish support for World War I on the floor of the British Parliament), and the defeat of British troops from Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, in the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign.


“The Foggy Dew”, Charles O’Neill (1919)
This was written by a Irish priest after witnessing the first meetings of the Dáil Éireann during the Anglo-Irish War.  Like “The Grand Old Dame Britannia”, it laments the loss of Irish men in the service of the British army in World War I:  Sulva and Sud al Bar refer to the landing site for British troops at Gallipoli (Sulva Bay is also referenced in “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, the Australian song commemorating Gallipoli).  The song also notes the shelling of Sackville Street by heavily artillery ferried up the Liffey, and the leadership of Irish Volunteers such as Patrick Pearse and Cathal Brugha.



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