The Fields of Athenry

The Fields of Athenry is a folk song about the Great Irish Famine, of the 1840s and tells a story through first-person narrative.

The song, which was first recorded by Irish ballad singer Danny Doyle, recounts the tale of a prisoner who has been sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food to feed his starving family. The song can often be heard at Munster and international rugby fixtures and has been increasingly heard at Premiership matches of late.

LYRICS

By a lonely prison wall, I heard a young girl calling
“Michael, they have taken you away
For you stole Trevelyan’s corn
So the young might see the morn’
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay”

Low lie the fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly
Our love was on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the fields of Athenry

Where once we watched the small free birds fly
Our love was on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the fields of Athenry

By a lonely prison wall, I heard a young man calling
“Nothing matters, Mary, when you’re free
Against the famine and the crown – I rebelled, they ran me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity”

Low lie the fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly
Our love was on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the fields of Athenry

By a lonely harbour wall, she watched the last star falling
As the prison ship sailed out against the sky
For she’ll live in hope and pray for her love in Botany Bay
It’s so lonely ’round the fields of Athenry

Low lie the fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly
Our love was on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the fields of Athenry

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