Composer

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

The Wind That Shakes the Barley  is a quintessential sad Irish song, filled with delicate imagery and gentle, tragic love.  It is also a prominent “rebel song,” with the words written to commemorate the failed rising of 1798 against British rule.  The speaker gains vengeance for his lost love with the rebel United Irishmen at the bloody Battle of Oulart Hollow, where only three loyalist militiamen escaped alive from the rebel army.  Rebel songs, now with guitars and drums, continue to be sung and written to extol the valor of the modern Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland, again as the brave few resisting colonial might.  Instead of heroic battles, the methods of the modern rebels are car-bombings, knee-cappings, and bloody strife between rival factions.  They would do well to read closely the final verse of The Wind that Shakes the Barley – despite taking ever greater amounts of blood, they only reap a harvest of death.

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