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  1. Before the Hunger
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Before the Hunger

In the middle of the 19th century catastrophic failures of the potato crop – the staple diet of the Irish peasantry – resulted in the mass starvation and emigration of a large proportion of the population of Ireland. This event has erroneously been referred to as a famine when, in fact, the island was a net exporter of food during the years of the tragedy. Consequently, many Irish people call this event The Great Hunger. This song is in the nature of a lament for a more innocent and carefree time before this Celtic holocaust.

Lyrics

Before the Hunger

Were my people younger before the hunger
Were we lighter in heart and soul
Did we fly in the dance and live the romance
And have faith in the stories of old

Oh how deep was the dread with so many dead
And no heroes to heed their cries
From the cradle of the brave none would come to save them
No champions would arise

There were songs for the new day a-dawnin’
And for the twilight’s endless glow
But none for the cold, empty mornings
Of a race without any hope

Tears and kisses and the last long embraces
The pause at the bend in the road
For one more look at the beloved faces
*Croí briste faoi bhrón, faoi bhrón

What can a nation do when their destiny is doom
And their future is a holocaust
While the living must leave the misery and ruin
To wander the world hollowed by loss

Shattered pride – broken lives
The blight that scars us yet
To starve in ditches while our harvest riches
Went to other mouths instead

There were songs for babies a-bornin’
And laments for the laying to rest
But none for the wake and the mournin’
Or the taking of all that was best

Were my people younger before the hunger
Were we lighter in heart and soul
Did we fly in the dance and live the romance
And have faith in the stories of old

* Translation – Brokenhearted with sorrow, with sorrow

Des Wade © 2013