Sean South  of Garryowen --- Sean Costello

Historical note:  On New Year’s Day of 1957, a group of IRA Volunteers led by Sean South attempted to storm the RUC barracks at Brookeborough in County Fermanagh. The attack failed and Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon were killed in action. This song tells Sean’s story and The Patriot Game tells the same story from Fergal’s point of view. I don’t know of any song that tells the story from the British side.

           Sad are the homes ‘round Garryowen since lost their giants’ pride.
           And the Bean-sidhe cry links every vale around the Shannon side.
          That city of the ancient walls, the broken Treaty Stone,
          Undying fame surrounds your name --- Sean South of Garryowen.

‘Twas [D]on a dreary New Year’s Eve as the [G]shades of night came [D]down.
A lorry load of [G]Volun-[D]teers approached the border [A7]town.
There were [D]men from Dublin [G]and from [D]Cork, Fermanagh [G]and Ty-[A7]rone,
But the [D]leader was a Limerick man, Sean [G]South of Garry-[D]owen. 

And [D]as they moved along the street, up [G]to the barracks [D]door,
They scorned the danger [G]they they might [D]meet, the fate that lay in [A7]store.
They were [D]fighting for old [G]Ireland’s [D]cause. To claim their [G]very [A7]own,
And the [D]foremost of that gallant band was Sean [G]South of Garry-[D]owen. 

But the [D]sergeant foiled their daring plan; he [G]spied them through the [D]door.
From the Sten guns and the [G]ri-[D]fles a hail of death did [A7]pour,
And [D]when that awful [G]night was [D]past, two men lay as [G]cold as [A7]stone.
There was [D]one from near the border and [G]one from Garry-[D]owen. 

No [D]more he’ll hear the seagull’s cry o’er the [G]murmering Shannon [D]tide,
For he fell beneath a [G]northern [D]sky, O’Hanlon by his [A7]side.
They have [D]gone to join that [G]gallant [D]band of Plunkett, [G]Pearse and [A7]Tone.

A [D]martyr for old Ireland was Sean [G]South of Garry-[D]owen.


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