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Lonely Banna Strand
(Roud 5234)
Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London
Recorded in London 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Mikey Kelleher

It being on Good Friday morning, all in the month of May,
And a German ship lay signal, afloat in the bay.
With twenty thousand rifles, all ready for to land.
And no answer signal giving, from lonely Banna Strand.

A motor-car went was flying at the early morning gloom.
And a sudden crash, and in a stream, they fell and met their doom.
Two Irish boys lay dying, just like their hopes so grand,
And no answer signal giving, from lonely Banna Strand.

'No answer signal from the shore', Sir Roger sadly said,
'No comrades there to welcome me, alas! they must be dead;
I must do my duty', at once he mean to land,
And in a boat he pulled away into lonely Banna Strand.

A German ship lay anchored there, with rifles in galore.
And up comes a British ship and spoke, 'No German reach our shore;
You are our Empire enemy, and there I’ll bid you stand.
That no German foot shall ne'er pollute in lonely Banna Strand.'

They sailed for Queenstown Harbour, said Roger: 'We're undone.
Our good stout ship, our master, we have man on gun for gun.
I have twenty thousand rifles, they ne’er shall reach the land.
I will sink them all, and bid farewell to lonely Banna Strand.'

The R.I.C. was searching for Sir Roger high and low,
And they found him at McKenna's Fort, they said: 'You are our foe.'
He said: 'I'm Roger Casement, I came to my native land,
I meant to free my country in lonely Banna Strand.'

They took Sir Roger prisoner and they sailed for London Town,
On a Tower they placed him, a traitor to the Crown.
He said, 'I am no traitor, and in my trial I stand,
For bringing German rifles to lonely Banna Strand.’

Fare thee well, my native countrymen, I mean to set you free,
But alas, I fear I brought naught but woe and misery.
My curse unto the Germans, who persuaded me to land.
They fled and left me to my fate in lonely Banna Strand.’

It was in an English prison, they led him to his death.
'I'm dying for my country', he said in his last breath.
He was buried on a prison tomb, far away from his native land,
And the wild waves sing his Requiem in lonely Banna Strand.


"Roger David Casement (1864 – 1916) was a humanitarian campaigner and an Irish patriot, poet, revolutionary, and nationalist. He was a British consul, famous for his reports and activities against human rights abuses in the Congo and Peru and also for his dealings with Germany before Ireland’s Easter Rising in 1916. An Irish nationalist and Parnellite in his youth, he worked in Africa for commercial interests and later in the service of Britain. However, the Boer War and his consular investigation into atrocities in the Congo led Casement to anti-Imperialist and, ultimately, to Irish Republican and separatist political opinions. He sought to obtain German support for a rebellion in Ireland against British rule. Shortly before the Easter Rising, he landed in Ireland and was arrested. He was subsequently convicted and executed by the British for treason. His remains were buried in the yard at Pentonville prison until they were exhumed in 1965, when they were returned to Dublin with much pomp and ceremony, and on March 1st were re-interred in Glasnevin cemetery. An extra verse was added to 'Lonely Banna Strand' by an anonymous writer to mark the occasion:

They took Sir Roger home again in the year of '65,
And with his comrades of '16 in peace and tranquil lies,
His last fond wish, it is fulfilled, for to lie in his native land,
And the waves will roll in peace again on the lonely Banna Strand."
Jim Carroll


See also
Lonely Banna Strand sung by Tom Lenihan


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