‘Dying Rebel’ Song Has Tipperary Connection.

The Dying Rebel.

Vocals: Irish singer, songwriter, historian, Derek Warfield, a former member of the musical group The Wolfe Tones.

Lyrics: Original author unknown.

The following rebel song tells the story of an Irish freedom fighter listening to the last words of his comrade, who lies dying on a Dublin street. When the wounded man’s father arrives at the scene seeking his son’s whereabouts, he is informed, “there’s no use in searching, your son to heaven has gone.”

The ballad is set during Easter 1916, and according to one version the dying man came from Co. Tipperary with the song rendition containing the following lines:-

“The first I saw was a wounded soldier,
Lying, dying, as he feebly cried,
‘God bless our home in sweet Tipperary.
God bless the cause for I am dying’

My only son was shot in Dublin,
Fighting for his country bold,
He died for Ireland, and Ireland only,
The Harp and Shamrock, Green, White and Gold”.

Some years later, a four-verse version of this ballad was published, written in a Dublin journal; then known as “The Bell”, latter which ceased publication in 1954. Same publication was an outspoken liberal voice at a time of great political and intellectual stagnation.
The article containing this four-verse version was written by Donagh MacDonagh, latter son of Tipperary-born political activist, poet, playwright, educationalist and revolutionary leader Thomas MacDonagh, one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, who was executed on Wednesday May 3rd, 1916.

The Dying Rebel

The night was dark and the fight was over,
The moon shone down O’Connell Street,
I stood alone, where brave men perished,
Those men have gone, their God to meet.

My only son was shot in Dublin,
Fighting for his country bold,
He fought for Ireland, and Ireland only,
The harp and shamrock, green white and gold.

The first I met was a grey haired father,
Searching for his only son,
I said old man, there’s no use searching,
For up to heaven, your son has gone.

[Repeat Chorus]

The old man cried out broken hearted,
Bending low I heard him say,
I knew my son was too kind hearted,
I knew my son would never yield.

[Repeat Chorus]

The last I met was a dying rebel,
Bending low I heard him say,
God bless my home, in dear Cork City,
And bless the cause for which I die.

[Repeat Chorus]



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