Wild Wicklow hills

Lyrics

When I was nineteen, they sent me aboard
A big ship, it took me to France
The crash of a shell blew me arse into hell
Took a leg off for fear I might dance
I lay in the mud that was crimson with blood
And was studded with shrapnel and shell, bloody hell
The pain in my thigh, it just darkened my sky
And I dreamt of the wild Wicklow hills

For Wicklow was peaceful that time of the year
The hush through her heather was all you could hear
In her hills and her valleys, no anguish or fear
There’s peace on the wild Wicklow hills

The gave me a crutch and they sent me back home
I pitied the men left behind
For those not soon dead, they were numbered instead
As crippled, as maimed or as blind
At Charing Cross Station, they turned round the train
Took more human fodder to war, bloody war
They hadn’t a chance in those hell holes in France
The Somme, it ran red with their gore

But Wicklow was peaceful that time of the year
The hush through her heather was all you could hear
In her hills and her valleys, no anguish or fear
There’s peace on the wild Wicklow hills

The war to end war, it was counted in cost
Twenty eight million missing or dead
But rather that end it, the second time round
We just doubled those numbers instead
We’ve killed and we’ve maimed and we’ve slaughtered again
And lord I just don’t know what for, what for
There’s flies in the eyes of a child as he cries
Indifference goes on evermore

And Wicklow’s still peaceful this time of the year
The hush through the heather is all you can hear
In her hills and her valleys, no anguish or fear
There’s peace on the wild Wicklow hills, oh Lord
There’s peace on the wild Wicklow hills

Wicklow 1

Songs of Wicklow


Notes

County-Wicklow-Ireland 1As I drove through Wicklow on Friday, March 6, 1987, I was listening to radio reports on the capsize of MS Herald of Free Enterprise as it set sail from Zeebrugge, Belgium, towards Dover with the bow doors open. While I was listening, people were still trapped inside the ship and I contrasted their terror with the peaceful Wicklow countryside. It struck me that the same contrast existed during the Battle of the Somme in the First World War. I penned this song to reflect those feelings.
‘There’s flies in the eyes of a child as he cries’ is a reference to those graphic images brought to our screens by Bob Geldof during the 1984 / 85 famine in Ethiopia. Man’s inhumanity to man – when will we ever learn.



County

Wicklow

Song Themes

World War 1

Songwriter

Reg Keating