An Cluiche Thirghráthóireachta - The Patriot Game

Fergal O'Hanlon

"The Patriot Game" is an Irish ballad that critically examines the posture of the IRA during the 1950s: The song is perhaps one of the most famous to emerge from the Irish nationalist struggle, and is immensely popular amongst the IRA, as well as other groups. It tells the story of Fergal O'Hanlon from Ballybay, Co Monaghan, who tried to abolish the border between the Six Counties and the Republic. He was killed during the Brookborough attack at the age of 20. The song has become world famous. Undoubtedly one of the best ballads ever to come out of the Irish struggles. "The Patriot Game" has been recorded by numerous artists, including Wolf Tones, The Clancy Brothers, and the Dubliners.

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Gan ainm 2010.
1. Éistigi a reibiliúnaigh óga agus mé ag cannadh dhibh,
ós uafasach an rud é an grá dod thir dhuchais.
Dibrígheann sé eagla le luas lasrach.
Déineann sé sinne cuid den chluiche tirgráthóireachta.

by Dominic Behan 1959
1. Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing,
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

2. Ó hAnnluain is ainm dom agus mé sé déag bliana d'aois.
I gCondae Muíneachán iseadh mo bhaile féin ,
agus is ansan do thógadh mé. D'fhoghlium mé fud mo bheatha Sasana ghranna a lochtú.
Agus anois is cuid den chluiche tirghráthóireachta mé.

2. My name is O'Hanlon, and I've just gone sixteen.
My home is in Monaghan, and where I was weaned
I learned all my life cruel England's to blame,
So now I am part of the patriot game.

3. Is beagnach dhá blian ó d'imig mé ón mbaile,
Agus mé 'mo chuid den gcathláin IRA áitliúla.
Bhí scéal na laoigh leighte agam,
Agus ba mhaith liom féin an scéal céanna bheith agam.
Agus mo pháirt féin a imirt ins an chluiche thirghráthóireachta.

3. It's nearly two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold IRA,
I'd read of our heroes, and wanted the same
To play out my part in the patriot game.

4. ó fhada a bhí an t-oileán seo'gainnme leath saor.
Sé condae a mbionn 'na luí fé ansmacht Sheáin Bhuí.
Ach is fíor go raibh Dev ciontach,
ó sheachnaigh sé a chuid féin den chluiche thirgrathóireachta.

4. This island of ours has too long been half free.
Six counties lie under John Bull's tyranny.
But still De Valera is greatly to blame
For shirking his part in the Patriot game.

5. D'innis siad dom mar a lámhaigh an Conníolach,
agus é i gcathaoir ,a choirp bhreá chasta, bhriste, bhacach.
Ní raibh aon moill ortha é a dhéanamh chuid den
Chluiche Thirghráthóireachta.

5. They told me how Connolly was shot in a chair,
His wounds from the fighting all bleeding and bare.
His fine body twisted, all battered and lame
They soon made him part of the patriot game.

6. Is cuma liom bheith ag lámhaigh phóilíní. Bhíodar ar thaobh an chogaidh agus ní rabhadar ríamh mar gardaí shiochána. Ní raibh chead againn amhthac, scaoílleadh le thréigtheóiri ar bith. Na reibiliúnaigh do dhíol an chluiche tirghrátheóireachta amach. 6. And now as I lie here, my body all holes
I think of those traitors who bargained and sold
I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those quislings who sold out the patriot game


G]Come all ye young[C] re[G]bels, and[D] list while I [G]sing,
For the[C] love of one's[G] country is a[Bm] terrible [G]thing.
It[C] banishes fear with the[Bm] speed of a[G] flame,
And it makes us all [C]part of the[D] patriot[G] game.

Map of a divided Ireland
"The Patriot Game" is an Irish ballad that critically examines the posture of the IRA during the 1950s. The song is set in the period following World War II when the IRA launched a new campaign to bring about the reunification of Northern Ireland (which is currently part of the United Kingdom) with the Republic of Ireland into an independent united Ireland. It was written by Dominic Behan (younger brother of playwright Brendan Behan), the tune adapted from an earlier folksong,"The Merry Month Of May". The song tells the story of Fergal O'Hanlon, an IRA Volunteer from Ballybay, County Monaghan from age 16 who achieved minor fame for taking part in an attack on Brookeborough Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks, in County Fermanagh on 1st January 1957. O'Hanlon was killed in the attack at the age of 20. This incident took place during The IRA's 1950s "Border Campaign"(1956 - 1962) which resulted in complete failure. The attack was devised and led by Seán Garland, an IRA man from Dublin - another volunteer, Seán South, from Limerick was also killed during the raid.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian Hennessey,, November 2010
For phonetics consult the pocket dictionary Fóclóir Póca or Fóclóir Scoile.
Replay background music: "Patriot Game" sequenced by Frank Lennon
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Play music by tinwhistle "Patriot Game"
Replay song with lyrics (Broadband only): "Patriot Game" by The Dubliners
Historical facts are from Wikipedia, an internet encyclopedia.

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