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Updated 05/14/2013


The Boys of the Old Brigade

The Boys of the Old Brigade commemorates the Easter Rising of 1916.  The Rising was an attempt by militant Irish republicans to win independence from Britain by force of arms. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798.  Largely organized by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Rising lasted from Easter Monday April 24 to April 30, 1916. Members of the Irish Volunteers, led by school teacher and barrister Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic independent of Britain.

The Rising was suppressed after six days of fighting, and its leaders were court-martialled and executed, but it succeeded in bringing physical force republicanism back to the forefront of Irish politics. Less than three years later, in January, 1919, survivors of the Rising convened the First Dáil and established the Irish Republic.


"Oh father, why are you so sad,
on this bright Easter morn?
When Irishmen are proud and glad
Of the land where they were born."
"Oh, son, I see sad mem'ries view
Of far-off distant days,
When, being just a boy like you,
I joined the old brigade.

Where are the lads who stood with me
When history was made?
Oh, gra mo chree I long to see
The Boys of the Old Brigade.

In hills and farms the call to arms
Was heard by one and all,
And from the glens came brave young men
To answer
Ireland's call.
'Twas long ago we faced the foe,
The old brigade and me,
But by my side they fought and died
That Ireland might be free.


And now, my boy, I've told you why
On Easter morn I sigh
For I recall my comrades all
From dark old days gone by,
I think of men who fought in glens
With rifles and grenade
May Heaven keep the men who sleep
From the ranks of the old brigade.