Rising of the moon

Lyrics

Oh then tell me Sean O’Farrell, tell me why you hurry so
Hush mo bhuachaill, hush and listen and his cheeks were all aglow
I bear orders from the captain, get you ready quick and soon
For our pikes must be together by the rising of the moon
By the rising of the moon, by the rising of the moon
Our pikes must be together by the rising of the moon

Oh then tell me Sean O’Farrell, where the gathering is to be
At the old spot by the river right well known to you and me
One more word for signal token, whistle out the marching tune
With your pike upon your shoulder at the rising of the moon
At the rising of the moon, at the rising of the moon
With your pike upon your shoulder at the rising of the moon

Out from many a mud walled cabin, eyes were watching though the night
Many a manly heart was throbbing for the coming morning light
Murmurs ran along the valley to the banshee’s lonely croon
And a thousand pikes were flashing by the rising of the moon
By the rising of the moon, by the rising of the moon
A thousand pikes were flashing by the rising of the moon

All along that singing river, that dark mass of men was seen
High above their shining weapons hung their own beloved green
Death to every foe and traitor, whistle up the marching tune
And hoorah me boys for freedom, ’tis the rising of the moon
’tis the rising of the moon, ’tis the rising of the moon
Hoorah me boys for freedom, ’tis the rising of the moon

Well, they fought for poor old Ireland and full bitter was their fate
What glorious pride and sorrow fills the name of Ninety-eight
Yet, thank God, we still have beating, hearts of manhoods burning tune
Who will follow in their footsteps at the rising of the moon
At the rising of the moon, at the rising of the moon
Who will follow in their footsteps at the rising of the moon


Notes

Rising of the moon 2

The Rising of the Moon made its first appearance in 1865 as a poem in the Irish nationalist newspaper, The Nation. It was written by John Keegan Casey, who wrote under the pen name Leo Casey.

The Rising of the Moon tries to capture the spirit of the 1798 rebels rather than focus on the details of any one battle. In as much as it is about any specific event at all, it refers to the battle that took place in County Longford near the small town of Granard. A group of rebels armed only with pikes came up against highly trained soldiers armed with muskets and artillery. The rebels didn’t stand a chance and were quickly routed. More than 400 were killed. There were numerous battles in 1798 but Casey probably chose Granard because it was close to his home town of Mullingar. Casey originally referred to the Inny River at the beginning of the fourth verse so it read: There beside the Inny River that dark mass of men was seen. However, he thought this might bring too much attention to his home area from the British so he changed it to There beside that singing river…

It’s not know whether Sean O’Farrell refers to anyone in particular or whether it’s meant to be just a typically local name used to help set the scene and establish a conversational tone.

The song then continues describing the preparations for battle but it never focuses on the actual fighting or gives any further details. Instead, the final verse ends by asserting that although they were defeated, the rebels retained their pride and sense of glory.

Casey wrote the song with two ideas in mind. He wanted to celebrate the efforts of Irish nationalists of the past and also to inspire the same kind of nationalist passion in his contemporaries in the 1860s. The Fenians were gaining momentum in Ireland at this time and campaigning for Irish freedom. Soon they would be staging a rebellion of their own.
Casey wanted to ferment this nationalist feeling. The Rising of the Moon refers mainly to heroic actions of the past but it ends by affirming that the spirit of the 1798 rebels was still alive because Ireland still had men Who would follow in their footsteps at the rising of the moon.



County

Longford

Song Themes

1798 Rebellion