1916 Easter Rising

For the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Finlay and Jimmy were specially commissioned by the Connolly Association to produce and perform an hour long programme of songs, narration and pictures telling the story of rising and the men and women who participated in that momentous event.

The first performance took place in Rich Mix, in London on 2 April.

Jimmy has written 3 new songs for this programme.

After the performance in London we have had many requests for the words of these songs.

Here they are (music to follow)

Connolly’s Last Words
Jimmy Ross

Hasn’t it been a good life Lily
And isn’t this a good end?
The verdict it has been confirmed
Now we know what the morn will send
For six days we fought the British state
So no mercy will they show
But the struggle it continues
That’s one thing I surely know

We fought the boss class back in Scotland
In the US we organised
With Joe Hill and Big Bill Haywood
Cut the owners down to size
Back in Dublin with Jim Larkin
We fought Martin Murphy’s plan
To kill off the Transport Union
Lockout every woman and man

Here in Dublin and in Belfast
We fought those who tried to fool
With lies of country and religion
The old divide and rule
Labour’s cause is the cause of Ireland
We must fight for all we’re worth
Our demands they are most moderate
We only want the earth

Margaret Skinnider
Jimmy Ross

My name is Margaret Skinnider, in Coatbridge I was born
Brought up by Irish parents, I joined Cumann na mBan
I fought for women’s suffrage and for full equality
And to break the chains of empire so that Ireland might be free

When first I came to Dublin town I met the Countess there
Those crumbling workers’ homes she showed me, filled me with despair
Fallen houses, just like corpses, cratered streets all pocked with holes
Overflowing with sewage and refuse. How I wept for those poor souls

Against the might of empire and the slaughter o’er in France
With Jim Connolly and the Countess I prepared to take my stance
For a socialist republic, for the cause of women’s rights
Our Citizens Army marched out that day, united in our fight

At St Stephens Green our commander Michael Mallin bade me stay
He told me as a woman I should keep out of harms way
I replied our proclamation gives all women equal rights
So we can risk our lives as much as men do in our fight

I could see across the tree tops to the roof of the hotel
Where the British soldiers showered us with deadly shot and shell
I could hear the bullets hail against the Surgeons College wall
And more than once I saw the man I’d aimed at slump and fall

I led a raiding party but our presence was revealed
Shots volleyed out. I felt them strike. The world around me reeled.
Beside me on the pavement as his dark blood pooled around
Lay the form of young Fred Ryan, cold and dead upon that ground

I lay there in the hospital as those next weeks slowly passed
They shot our leaders one by one. Jim Connolly was last
Though it was hard to bear the loss of all those gallant men
Our cause was just and I believed that we would rise again

Limerick Soviet
Jimmy Ross

In 1919 the British Army
Tried to shut old Limerick down
They brought in Martial Law
And threw up barricades around the town
Chorus
We are making bread not profits
That’s what the Limerick soviet said
Fighting the might of the British army
Making history, making bread.

The creamery workers then walked out saying
We won’t endure this martial law
If the British army keeps this blockade
Then our labour we’ll withdraw
Chorus

That very next day Limerick workers
In their thousands downed their tools
The Limerick Soviet was declared
“Now we’re the ones who’ll make the rules”
Chorus

They printed Limerick Soviet money
And newspapers to counter lies
Smuggled in flour in boats and hearses
Organised the food supplies
Chorus

For two long weeks they held their ground
Till the union leaders let them down
But we’ll honour the days of the Limerick Soviet
When the workers ran the town
Chorus