The Boys of Barr na Sráide

This well-known Irish song is based on a a poem written by Sigerson Clifford and is titled after the street of the same name  in Cahersiveen, County Kerry.

The poem tells the story of Clifford’s friends during the Black and Tan period and up to the Irish Civil War.  “Hunting for the wren” is an old Irish tradition on St. Stephen’s Day (December 26 – Wren Day).

Here it is sung by three Kerrymen, the young Padraig Ó Sé (of Dún Chaoin, Co. Kerry) with two masters, Seán Garvey and Tim Dennehy.

The Boys of Barr na Sráide

Oh the town, it climbs the mountain and looks upon the sea
At sleeping time or waking, ’tis there I’d long to be
To walk again that kindly street, the place where life began
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren

With cudgels stout they roamed about to hunt the dreólín
We searched for birds in every furze from Litir to Dooneen
We sang for joy beneath the sky, life held no print nor plan
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren

And when the hills were bleeding and the rifles were aflame
To the rebel homes of Kerry the Saxon stranger came
But the men who dared the Auxies and to beat the Black-and-Tan
The Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren

And here’s a toast to them tonight, the lads who laughed with me
By the groves of Carham river or the slope of Bean ‘a Tí
John Daly and Batt Andy and the Sheehans, Con and Dan
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren

And now they toil on foreign soil, for they have gone their way
Deep in the heart of London town or over in Broadway
And I am left to sing their deeds and praise them while I can
Those Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren

And when the wheel of life runs down and peace comes over me
Oh lay me down in that old town between the hills and sea
I’ll take my sleep in those green fields, the place my life began
Where those Boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wren

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