From the album Seanchas
This anthemic song was composed by Sigerson Clifford (1913-1985). It is about the town of Cahersiveen in County Kerry, and is one of the band’s fa- vourite songs. It refers to a folk tradition that occurs on St. Stephen’s Day (De- cember 26th) where masked and disguised revellers hunt a wren (wran) bird. Although the bird is not persecuted anymore, Wren’s Day or Lá an Dreoilín is still a huge day of music and celebration in Kerry.
Oh the town it climbs the mountain and looks upon the sea, In sleeping time or waking time ‘tis there I long to be, To walk again those kindly streets, the place my life began, And the boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wran.
With cudgels stout we roamed about to hunt the dreoilín. We searched for birds in every furze from Letter to Dooneen. We danced for joy beneath the sky; life held no print or plan And the boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wran.
And when the hills were bleeding and the rifles were aflame To the rebel homes of Kerry the Saxon strangers came But the men who fought the Auxies and who beat the Black and Tans Were the boys in Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.
So here’s a health to them tonight, those lads who laughed with me By the groves of Carhan River or the slopes of Beenatee John Dawley and Batt Andy and the Sheehans Con and Dan And the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.
But now they toil on foreign soil where they have gone their way Deep in the heart of London town or over in Broadway And I am left to sing their deeds and to praise them while I can Those boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran
And when the wheel of life runs down and when peace comes over me Oh lay me down in that old town between the hills and sea I’ll take my sleep in those green fields the place my life began Where the boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wran.