Top 5 Irish rebel songs about 1916 and The War of Independence

Which of these famous Irish Rebel Songs do you know? 

By Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin, UCC School of Music


You’ve heard of the following Irish rebel songs connected to 1916 and the War of Independence:


The Valley of Knockanure

Seán Ó Sé can be heard singing this song


Óró Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile

You might have been taught this one in school.


Foggy Dew 

This song was made especially famous by The Chieftains and Sinéad Ó Connor. Learn more about the history of the Foggy Dew here.


Down By The Glenside 

Also known as The Bold Fenian Men, this song was composed by the same man who wrote Ireland’s national anthem, Peadar Kearney.


But what about these lesser known songs?


My Only Son Was Shot in Dublin

Also known as The Dying Rebel, this version is by Patsy Watchorn who was a singer with The Dublin City Ramblers and later The Dubliners. 


They Wounded Old Ireland

Sung by Andy Stewart, this beautiful song refers to 1916 but also the more recent troubles in Northern Ireland.


James Connolly

This haunting air is sung by the famed Sean Nós singer from Connemara, Nan Tom Teamín


The Gunner McGee

This famous song comes from Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners.


Patrick Egan is a PhD candidate at UCC, studying the Seán Ó Riada digital arts and humanities collection. View his latest blog post at Outreach Ethnomusicology.

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