Destruction caused by the Easter Rising, 1916. Stirring historic songs written in honor of the people involved and events 100 years ago in Ireland.

 James Connolly

One of the most famous of all Irish ballads about the 1916 leader, who was shot while propped up against a wall because of a broken leg. The author of the lyrics is unknown.

The Foggy Dew

Canon Charles O’Neill wrote this famous tune after attending the sitting of the first ever Dail (Irish Parliament). Sinead O’Connor did a wonderful version.

Off to Dublin in the Green / Merry Ploughboy

A huge hit in the 1960s for musician Dermot O’Brien. This popular tune still played very widely.

Who Fears to Speak of Easter Week

Brendan Behan, Ireland’s laughing boy and resident working class Dublin genius, sings one of the great 1916 songs.

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On Banna Strand

(Roger Casement)

Roger Casement was executed for his part in attempting to deliver German weapons to the Irish Volunteers. Casement was arrested on Banna Strand in Kerry.

The Soldier's Song

(Sung in English in the GPO in Easter week)

Peadar Kearney a Dublin songwriter, 1916 fighter, and uncle of Brendan Behan, penned the English version of what became the national anthem in 1907. It was sung in the GPO. The Irish version came out in 1926.


Grace Gifford married Joseph Plunkett, Irish nationalist, poet, journalist, and a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, in his death cell hours before his execution.

The Boys of the Old Brigade

Written by Balladeer Paddy McGuigan, this song still causes controversy because Celtic football fans regularly sing it even though it is banned at their matches.

Mise Éire

Composed by Seán Ó Riada, this song was based on Patrick Pearse’s Irish language poem. Ó Riada was Ireland’s greatest composer and this stirring air is often considered his masterpiece.

Freedom's Sons by Tommy Makem

This is a lesser known ballad than many of his other songs, but Tommy Makem was determined to write an Easter 1916 song.

Read more stories on the 1916 Centenary