The Starry Plough
music and words by Len Wallace

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As one who is often refered to as an "Irish musician" here in Canada I've always been wanting to write a song about the flag, the Starry Plough. I finally put together the lyrics yesterday. It's a simple song with a simple tune, written much in the tradition  like the old rebel standards such as "The Red Flag",but I wanted to make such a statement about the cause of Ireland's working class.  I pass on the lyrics to you.


Some may speak with patriot pride
 of the Harp without the Crown
Or the day the Orange and Green went up
 and the Union Jack came down.
But the rebel flag that I hold dear and sing it's story now
Is the workers' flag of Freedom
 that we call the Starry Plough.

In 1913 life was hard in the working slums of Dublin.
The Transport Workers called a strike
 at the urging of Jim Larkin.
The bosses called a lock out and
 they starved and cut them down.
The workers lost the battle,
 but they gained the Starry Plough.

So working women, union men
 they formed the Citizen's Army
And found a leader brave and bold
 in the man they called James Connolly
Says he "We'll raise this rebel flag
 above our Liberty Hall
And march in ranks for Ireland's cause
 beneath the Starry Plough."

In 1919 Limerick workers
  rose in many numbers.
In Munster, Meath and Kildare too
 they rose up from their slumbers.
The powers of the Master class
 they did turn upside down
To break the chains of slavery and fly the Starry Plough.

O'Duffy and his gang of thugs
 they roamed throughout the nation.
With blueshirts and their jackboots on
 the height of nazi fashion.
Frank Ryan and his valiant band
 they took a solemn vow
to fight the bloody fascists
 and defend the Starry Plough."

The history books are filled with pages
 of the rich man's story.
Of kings and queens and generals
 and their ill-begotten glory.
But here's to the ones who fought the fight
 and rose to Freedom's call -
To the rebel workers and the flag
We call the Starry Plough.


For the cause that never dies,
Len Wallace

[ Back to Images ]