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The Merry Ploughboy Lyrics and History

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Bodhran (c) Stockbyte / Getty Images

Bodhran (c) Stockbyte / Getty Images

(c) Stockbyte / Getty Images

"The Merry Ploughboy":

"The Merry Ploughboy" is a simple and classic Irish folksong that tells the narrator's story of joining up with the Irish Republican Army, an Irish independence movement which has existed in several forms since the early 1900s. Apparently, this song was banned for some time on RTE (the State-controlled radio and television stations), with exceptions made for bands who recorded it with a changed line: instead of "the land De Valera sold," they'd say "the land that the Saxons stole."

"The Merry Ploughboy" Lyrics:


Oh I am a merry ploughboy, and I plough the fields all day
'Til a sudden thought came to my mind that I should run away
Well, I'm sick and tired of slavery since the day that I was born
So I'm off to join the I.R.A. and I'm off tomorrow morn.

We'll I'm off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles clash
To the echo of a Thompson gun.

I'll leave aside my old pick and spade, and I'll leave aside my plough
I'll leave aside my old grey mare, for no more I'll need them now
And I'll leave aside my Mary, she's the girl that I adore
Well I wonder if she'll think of me when she hears the cannons roar.

We'll I'm off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles clash
To the echo of a Thompson gun.

And when this war is over, and dear old Ireland's free
I'll take her to the church to wed, and a rebel's wife she'll be
Well some men fight for silver and some men fight for gold
But the I.R.A. is fighting for the land De Valera sold.

Noteworthy Versions of "The Merry Ploughboy"

The Wolfe Tones - Listen/Download
Cu Chulainn - Listen/Download
The Davitts - Listen/Download
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