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Lonely Banna Strand
(Roud 5234)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1983

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

It was on Good Friday morning, all in the month of May.
A German ship was signalling beyond there in the bay
We have twenty thousand rifles all ready here to land,
But no signal answer came to them from lonely Banna Strand.

‘No signal answer from the shore', Sir Roger sadly said.
‘No comrades there to welcome me, alas, they must be dead.
But I must do my duty, and at once I mean to land.’
So in a boat he rowed away to lonely Banna Strand.

A motor car was flying through the early morning’s gloom.
A sudden crash and in the stream it fell to meet its doom.
Two Irish boys lay dying there, just like their hopes so grand.
They could not give the signal now from lonely Banna Strand.

The German ship was lying there with rifles in galore.
Up comes a British ship and spoke, ‘No Germans reach our shore.
You are our empire’s enemies, and so we bid you stand.
No German ship will n’er pollute our lonely Banna Strand.’

They sailed for Queenstown Harbour, says the Germans: ‘We’re undone.’
The British ship out-mastered, man for man and gun for gun.
We have twenty thousand rifles but they never will reach land.
We’ll sink them all and bid farewell to lonely Banna Strand.

The R.I.C.’s was searching for Sir Roger high and low.
They found him at McKenna’s Fort – says: ‘There you are, our foe.’
Says he, ‘I’m Roger Casement, I came to my native land.
I meant to free my countrymen on lonely Banna Strand.’

They took Sir Roger prisoner and they sailed for London Town.
And in the Tower they led him as a traitor to the Crown.
Says he, ‘I am no traitor', but his trial he had to stand,
For bringing German rifles to lonely Banna Strand.

It was in an English prison that they led him to his death.
‘I am dying for my country', he said with his last breath.
He’s buried in a foreign tomb far from his native home,
And the wild waves sing his Requiem on 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 Mikey Kelleher

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