Daltai na Gaeilge

1845 - 1848

 

Le Mícheál Ó Máille

Men and women of the Gael, you've been duped for years
By self-serving propaganda that's fallen on your ears
For the conqueror wrote the history books,

which were doctored just to say

 

That the world might understand it in the proper English way.

    A chairde dílse Gaelacha, nach oraibh dallach dubh!
    Trí bholscaireacht fhéinchúiseach atá curtha go tréan tiubh,
    Scríobh an cloíteoir cuntais, de réir a shainte fhéin,
    Go gclaonfaí a cuid ghníomhara i dtíortha 'bfad i gcéin.

 

In 1838 the Irish Poor Law said
That you must stay put in Ireland and pay tax on corn for bread
And you mustn't gather seaweed or fish in streams or lakes
And the "Landlords own the coastline" where the Irish ocean breaks.

    Ocht déag ocht is tríocha, bunaíodh an cháin,
    De réir Dhlí Bocht na hÉireann, ar arbhar an aráin,
    Gan bailiú iasc ná feamainne on bhfarraige mar ba gnáth,
    Dúirt an riail dhaingean: "Is leis an tiarna 'n tháth!"

 

Now this wondrous law was authored to break the Irish race
By the same bloodline as Cromwell, who despised an Irish face
Or better still to force them off the land forever more
To wander up and down the roads, throughout all Province four.

    Ba í cuspóir an dlí seo síor-bhriseadh na nGael,
    Cúis ghránach do Phor Chromail iad, tá's ag cách an scéal,
    B'fearr leo iad dibrithe, gan teach, gan teallach choích',
    Ag sireadh Tír na hÉireann, ar fán sa lá, san oích'.

 

Now we all know what a famine is, at least we think we do
We've seen in Ethiopia, a definition true
With no water, grain or living thing on the parched desert floor
And every blade of scrub picked clean and not a chance for more.

    Tuigimid an gorta, níl amhras againn faoi,
    Chonacthas san Aetóip é, tír iomlán ina luí,
    Gan uisce, grán, nó créatúr beo amuigh san fhásach lom,
    Gach tráithnín tirim imithe, an léirscrios ann go trom.

 

What we've been told of Ireland is thus it was the same
But anyone who's been there must cringe at this dread claim
A land so lush in greenery, where fish and fowl abound
With fields of golden corn and wheat the entire country round.

    Is deirtear gur in Éirinn a bhí an cás maraon,
    Ach an té a chum an scéal sin, ón bhfírinne a chlaon,
    Machairí fairsing' fliúirseacha, na héin 's na héisc is fearr
    Talamh méith na tíre, atá torthúil ó bhun go barr.

 

But, 150 years ago, the Landlords taxed them well
Then sent the tax to England to help the coffers swell
Forcing the tenant farmers to subsist an "spuds" alone
And nothing else in their green land were they allowed to own.

    Ach céad is caoga bliain ó shoin, ghearr na tiarnaí talún,
    An cháin ar chuile bhluir', is sheol an brabach go Londún,
    Ag fágáil feirmeoirí tionónta gan ach fataí fann' le n-ith',
    Is ó shaibhreas chré na tíre, ní bhfaighidís rud ar bith.

 

Then, in 1845, came the first potato blight
Which began four years which have been called

"Ireland's Darkest Night"


And as the English watched this crop rotting in the fields
They forbade the Gael from living on the other harvest yields.

    In ocht céad cúig is daichead a tháinig ar an saol,
    D'úchan ar na prataí, cúis léanoích' na nGael,
    Cé gurab eol i Sasana gur le lobhadh a thit an barr
    Níor ligeadh dona hEireannaigh aon toradh eile a ghearr.

 

And it wasn't just the Irish crop that failed, despite their claim
But the French and Dutch and German spuds

were rotted just the same


But they didn't starve, they just switched their staple by the rood
While English troops denied the Gael all but this one food.

    Is ní hamháin in Éirinn na prátaí nua a chlis,
    San Ghearmáin, s'Fhrainc, san Ollain, an barr céanna a bhris,
    Anuas ar na tuathanaigh, ach ní bhfuair éinne bás,
    Bhí bia eil' infhaighte, ach in Éirinn níorbh é an cás.

 

And while the people starved to death because of poisoned spuds
The shipping lanes to England were packed with Irish goods
There were tons of wheat and barley, oats and beets and more
Being unloaded onto English docks from bulging holds galore.

    Is le lucht 'fáil bháis ón ocras, níor cuireadh isteach ar shruth,
    Na soitheach trádála ag gabháil soir i gcruth,
    Síor-fholmhú bia na hÉireann, idir choirce agus eorn',
    Chruithneacht agus bhiatais, go Sasana gan teor'nn.

 

Up above the grains and greens that left the Irish coast
Were pigs and sheep and cattle plundered from the starving host
To say nothing of the hens and eggs and butter by the pound
While the only food they left us was rotting in the ground.

    Is ar bharr an ghrán is glasraí a d'éalaigh as an tír,
    Caoirigh, mairt is muca, níor fágadh ar gcúl mír,
    Cearca, im is uibheacha, chuadar go tiubh,
    Is níor fághadh ag na hÉireannaigh ach prátaí lofa dubh'.

 

Relief supplies were sent from America in '47
Believing that a famine had plagued our island heaven
They, too, had fallen victim to this greatest English lie
That let the English eat our food and watch the Irish die.

    Tháinig cúnamh faoisimh ó Mheiriceá, daichead 's a seacht,
    Ag creidbheáil gur in Éirinn a bhí gorta in ndiaidh teacht,
    Cuireadh dallach dubh orthu, ba mhillteannach an bhréag,
    A lig do Shasanaigh bheith buan, is d'Éireannaigh dul in éag!

 

And still you call it "famine" tho' we know you're not to blame
For when we say what we've been told, we hide the English shame
Remember all the "coffin ships", then cast the word aside
And call it what you know it is . . . call it GENOCIDE.

    Is tugtar 'gorta' air sin fós, ní oraibhse an locht,
    Na Sasanaigh a cheap é, ag déanamh iarracht' bocht,
    An fhírinne a cheilt, cuirimís uainn an focal fann,
    Usáidigí an téarma ceart: CINEDHÍOTHÚ 'bhí ann.

 

Uaitéar Stock a d'aistrigh.
(Translated by Walter Stock.)

 

©Mícheál Ó Máille 1994

 

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