Home > "The Fields of Athenry", Football, Ireland, Soccer, The Great Irish Famine > Football: “The Fields of Athenry”, une chanson qui nous en dit plus sur l’esprit Irlandais que…

Football: “The Fields of Athenry”, une chanson qui nous en dit plus sur l’esprit Irlandais que…

“The Fields of Athenry”, when a song tells us more the Irish spirit than…

Those of you who are football fans (that is, soccer for Americans) love to watch a good game, and love the joyful environment, hysteria, and euphoria created by the fans. Well, during this European Cup of Nations–i.e., euro 2012–we have been blessed with high quality football. The Spanish team is just wonderful to watch. They are literally at another level and they have changed how football is played and conceived. However, today, i am not going to talk about football, but about football fans, in particular the Irish fans. We all heard that beautiful song they sang while Ireland was losing to Spain 4 to nothing. That song is called “The Fields of Athenry.”

“The Fields of Athenry” is an old Irish folk song set during the great Irish famine of 1840s. It’s about a man named Michael who lived in a small village called Athenry in Galway county. Because he stole some food to fed his starving family, Michael was sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia. The story behind “The Fields of Athenry” could be fictional, but i would not be surprised if it were factual. The great Irish famine caused a great havoc, millions of people starved, thousands died, and pushed millions of Irish men and women to migrate to America and elsewhere to seek a better life. The great Irish famine is an integral part of the history of Ireland, and thus it is part of its folk stories and songs.

I have to be honest, I love the song. It’s a sad song with a wonderful dark and yet powerful hopeful melody. So when all Irish fans started  singing “The Fields of Athenry” in the last five minutes of the game against Spain while their beloved team was down 4 to nothing, down on its knees with no hope of a possible come back, listening to that song permeating the walls of the stadium and traveling all the way from Gdańsk, Poland, to invade every living-room in the world, that said a lot of about the Irish spirit than all anthropological and sociological studies combined. See, “The Fields of Athenry” is a song of sorrow and sadness and injustice. It is also a song that is full of hope and pride and its melody literally gives you goosebumps. It’s a song that said a lot about the Irish people and those of us who vibrate with its melody and lyrics.  It says that no matter how hard we fall, we will always rise up.

So, without further do, here is “The Fields of Athenry” as it was sung during the Ireland v. Spain game.

And here is “The Fields of Athenry” performed by the famous folk band, The Dubliners.

Here are the lyrics:

The Fields of Athenry
By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young girl calling
Micheal they are taking you away
For you stole Trevelyn’s corn
So the young might see the morn.
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the Fields of Athenry.By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young man calling
Nothing matter Mary when your free,
Against the Famine and the Crown
I rebelled they ran me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity.Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the Fields of Athenry.By a lonely harbor wall
She watched the last star falling
As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she’ll wait and hope and pray
For her love in Botany Bay
It’s so lonely ’round the Fields of Athenry.

Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the Fields of Athenry.

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