” WHEN I FOLLOWED HENRY JOY…”

Henry Joy McCracken 1767-1798.
This month 210 years ago , a 31-years-young Irish Rebel was put to death in Belfast by the British : the injustice which he fought against had blighted Irish democracy for 629 years at the time of his death – that same injustice has now cursed this island for 839 years and is still being fought against by Irish Rebels….

“An Ulster man I am proud to be
From the Antrim glens I come
And though I’ve laboured by the sea
I have followed fife and drum

I have heard the martial tramp of men
I’ve seen them fight and die
Ah! Lads it’s well I remember when
I followed Henry Joy

I dragged my boat in from the shore
And I hid my sails away
I hung my nets upon a tree
And I scanned the moonlit bay

The boys were out, the red coats too
I kissed my love good-bye
And in the shade of the greenwood glade
I followed Henry Joy

It was for Ireland’s cause we fought
For home and sire, we bled
‘Though our numbers were few, our hearts were true
And five to one lay dead
And many a lassie mourned her lad
And mother mourned her boy
For youth was strong in the daring throng
That followed Henry Joy

In Belfast town, they built a tree
And the redcoats mustered there
I saw him come as the beat of a drum
Rolled out in the barrack square
He kissed his sister, went aloft
And waved a last good-bye
My God he died, I turned and I cried
They have murdered Henry Joy “

(By the late Tommy Makem)
….and if it takes another 839 years then so be it: this injustice will be put right.
The 1169 Crew.




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About 11sixtynine

A mother of three and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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