Legendary Irish rebel trad band The Wolfe Tones have said they will defend Rockall Island, which is at the center of a major dispute between Ireland and Scotland.
With Ireland and Scotland sparring over who has rights to Rockall, a tiny disputed island in the North Atlantic off the Irish and Scottish coasts, The Wolfe Tones, who drew international attention to the island with their 1976 song "Rock on Rockall," have offered to defend it.
"The British sent over an SAS [Special Air Service] guy before to live on Rockall so they could say it was inhabited by them. We'd be prepared to go up there in a trawler ourselves and claim the rock back for Ireland," The Wolfe Tones' Brian Warfield told the Irish Sun.
The Wolfe Tones released "Rock on Rockall" at a time when the UK had claimed sovereignty over the tiny spit of rocky land, just 80-yards long and 100-yards wide.
"Ireland's response was to refuse to recognize their claim, when what we should have done is make Ireland's claim over Rockall," said Warfield, explaining the Tones' decision to write such a battle song for Rockall.
Brian explained: "The legend goes that Fionn MacCumhail, a mythical giant was supposed to have taken Lough Neagh, thrown it into the Irish sea which became the Isle of Man and then tossed a pebble into the sea which formed Rockall. Following the legend, I made my mythical historic claim on Rockall for Ireland in my song."
Now, 43 years later, Scotland has ordered Irish fishing vessels to vacate the area around Rockall, claiming that they are in violation of the 12-mile international limit. However, Ireland maintains that per the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that “Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf,” Rockall is not in Scotland's dominion, and the fishermen are in compliance with EU regulations.
Warfield said that the Wolfe Tones have noticed an increase in listens to "Rock on Rockall" on Spotify and YouTube since the island made headlines again earlier this week, and that they will be including the song in their touring set list this summer.
Full lyrics below:
Oh the Empire it is finished
No foreign lands to seize
So the greedy eye of England
I stirring towards the seas
Two hundred miles from Donegal
There's a place that's called Rockall
And the groping hands of Whitehall
Are grabbing at its walls.
Oh rock on Rockall you'll never fall
For Britains greedy hands
Oh you'll meet the same resistance
Like you did in many lands
May the Seagulls rise and pluck your eyes
And the water crush your shell
And the natural gas will burn your ass
And blow you all to hell
This rock is part of Ireland
For it's written in folklore
When Finn McCool took a sod of grass
He threw it to the fore
When he tossed a pebble across the sea
Where ever did it fall
For the sod became the Isle of Man
Now the pebble's called Rockall
Oh the seas will not be silent
While Britannia grabs the waves
And remember that the Irish
Will no longer be your slaves
And remember that Britannia well
She rules the waves no more
So keep your hands off Rockall
It's Irish to the core.