Christy Moore – Viva La Quinta Brigada

Ten years before folk singer Christy Moore saw the light of morning, the Irish Socialist Volunteers were fighting in Spain. Moore wrote this song as an ode to their struggle but mistakenly pronounced the Spanish ‘quince’ as ‘quinta’. The Irish volounteers actually fought in the XV International Brigade. Poetic licence allowed, it is still a good song.

Verses one and two honour the Irish volounteers who fought against the fascists in Spain.  Frank Ryan of the IRA was their leader.

Verse three features the fascists. I admire Moore for mentioning this. Ryan’s nemesis Eoin O’Duffy was a Free Stater in the Irish Civil War and leader of the fascist ‘blueshirts’. He rallied 700 Irishmen to fight for Franco out of Catholic solidarity. Only 277 fought in the International Brigades.

The final verse is name dropping. While it may seem tedious, one must remember these were real men who fought another people’s war for ideological conviction. The utterance of their names bears weight.

Ten years before I saw the light of morning
A comradeship of heroes was laid
From every corner of the world came sailing
The Fifth International Brigade

They came to stand beside the Spanish people
To try and stem the rising fascist tide
Franco’s allies were the powerful and wealthy
Frank Ryan’s men came from the other side

Even the olives were bleeding
As the battle for Madrid it thundered on
Truth and love against the force of evil
Brotherhood against the fascist clan

Viva la Quinta Brigada
“No Pasaran”, the pledge that made them fight
“Adelante” is the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight

Bob Hilliard was a Church of Ireland pastor
Form Killarney across the Pyrenees he came
From Derry came a brave young Christian Brother
Side by side they fought and died in Spain

Tommy Woods age seventeen died in Cordoba
With Na Fianna he learned to hold his gun
From Dublin to the Villa del Rio
Where he fought and died beneath the blazing sun

Viva la Quinta Brigada
“No Pasaran”, the pledge that made them fight
“Adelante” is the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight

Many Irishmen heard the call of Franco
Joined Hitler and Mussolini too
Propaganda from the pulpit and newspapers
Helped O’Duffy to enlist his crew

The word came from Maynooth, “support the Nazis”
The men of cloth failed again
When the Bishops blessed the Blueshirts in Dun Laoghaire
As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain

Viva la Quinta Brigada
“No Pasaran”, the pledge that made them fight
“Adelante” is the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight

This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan
Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too
Peter Daly, Charlie Regan and Hugh Bonar
Though many died I can but name a few

Danny Boyle, Blaser-Brown and Charlie Donnelly
Liam Tumilson and Jim Straney from the Falls
Jack Nalty, Tommy Patton and Frank Conroy
Jim Foley, Tony Fox and Dick O’Neill

Viva la Quinta Brigada
“No Pasaran”, the pledge that made them fight
“Adelante” is the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s