The Limerick Soviet

Play the song

[audio: PARRYWS03.mp3]

From The Album

This song appears on the We Can Make The World Stop album, released in August 2009 by Irregular Records.

It is available in High Street record shops, or direct from this website.

Click here to buy the CD

To purchase the song or the entire album on iTunes click here.

Lyrics

1919 was the year the trouble all went down
The Defence of the Realm Act was invoked by the Crown
They imposed martial law upon old Limerick town
And they made the local people foot the bill

The local trades and workers council met for 12 long hours
And said we will not recognise the British Army’s powers
This city is the people’s, we reclaim it now as ours
It ever was and shall be ever still

We are the Limerick Soviet
We answer only to the people’s plea
We care no more for their martial law
Than the British Army cares for you and me

The printing workers laboured through the darkness of the night
To urge the population to resist the army’s might
Within two hours the city walls proclaimed a General Strike
And Limerick responded to the call

Workers in their thousands were parading through the streets
The Irish Times was horrified and called for their defeat
But the people were in charge now not the Army or elite
They held the torch of freedom for us all

We are the Limerick Soviet
We answer only to the people’s plea
We care no more for their martial law
Than the British Army cares for you and me

The Soviet of Limerick it lasted two weeks long
A forgotten revolution overlooked by history’s song
John Cronin and his strike committee’s beacon has not gone
It lights the path to justice for us still

We are the Limerick Soviet
We answer only to the people’s plea
We care no more for their martial law
Than the British Army cares for you and me

Story

How come nobody knows about this?

I found out about the 1919 Limerick Soviet entirely by accident. I was at an event about Irish Rebel Music at Liverpool’s excellent Irish Festival when the Soviet was mentioned just in passing.

When I got home that night I spent the next few hours Googling about it and so got a decent knowledge of what happened. But I was amazed that something so huge had missed my radar.

I spoke to friends, and couldn’t find anybody who had heard of it either.

Folk music has taught me lots about the world through songs. I celebrate Joe Hill, but only because I heard the song about him and wanted to find out more. Same with Victor Jara, the Chilean folk singer.

I even spoke with people who had links with Limerick. And they didn’t know about it either.

I decided it was a story that had to be told so here it is.

Links

Free Online Book – Forgotten Revolution by Liam Cahill

Wiki: The Limerick Soviet

The Limerick Soviet Remembered

Videos

Two vids here. One is me fluffing my lines at my album launch in August 2009 (why does that only happen when someone is filming??), accompanied by the fab duo of Barry Briercliffe and Chad Draper.

Great video and editing by Graham Holland, and great sound by Nigel Paice.

The other is a piece on RTE television looking back at the Limerick Soviet. Enjoy.

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