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Sean Mc Caughey Lyrics

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Sean McCaughey Irish Rebel Song Lyrics. Words and music by Seamus Robinson.

Sean Mc Caughey

The Copyright of Sean McCaughey is owned by Seamus Robinson who kindly gave me permission to use his fine song lyrics and video here

Sean died in Portlaoise prison, 11-May-1946, on

the 23rd day of hunger and thirst strike





1.  [D#7] In Portlaoise [Ab]  Jail Sean Mc [C#] Caughey has[Ab] died;  

     [C#]So is [Ab] end [Fm]-ed his [Bbm] long [D#7] night.

     By hunger [Ab] strike he [C#] fought and [Ab] tried

     [C#] To win for [Ab] Ire [Fm]-land [D#] Liberty’s [Ab] light.


2.  For five long years in that place he had lain,

    Waiting for the coming dawn;

    His body burned and tortured with pain,

  ‘Til death gave Freedom to gentle Sean.


{chorus}  [D#7] Oh Erin [C#] weep -- oh Erin [Cm] cry --

               Strike thy [Bbm] breast at his [D#] name.

               [D#7]A curse on [C#] those who let him [Cm] die --

               Cruel their [Bbm] hearts –[D#] great is their [Ab] shame.


3.         In Aughnacloy and Belfast too,

            Heavy hearts cry out for Sean –

            O he is dead that loved Roisin Dubh,

            But in our memory he shall live on.


          {repeat chorus}

        {instrument break} 


4.         In Milltown now our hero lies –

           Flowers bloom around his grave;

          O’er Divis hill the wild wind sighs –

          For Sean who scorned to live a slave.


        {chorus twice}



Sean Mc Caughey was born in 1916 in Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone, and came to Belfast with his family when he was five years old. At the age of eighteen he joined the IRA 

and eventually became a member of GHQ Staff, Dublin.


In April 1941, the IRA Army Council arrested its Acting Chief Of Staff, Stephen Hayes on suspicion of being a Dublin Government agent. After questioning, Hayes admitted the charge and signed a confession implicating the Minister for Agriculture, James Ryan, and the Minister for Education, Tomas Ó Deirg, as his Government contacts. Hayes escaped IRA custody and reported the incident to the Garda Síochána. This resulted in a shoot-out between the IRA and Garda Special Branch. A prominent Republican, Liam Burke, was subsequently shot and seriously injured during the melee.


Sean Mc Caughey was arrested by Free State Forces and Hayes testified in a Military Court against him.  Consequently, Sean was sentenced to death, commuted to life Imprisonment, and transferred to Portlaoise Jail where he spent the next five years in solitary confinement. He refused to wear prison uniform, maintaining correctly that he was a soldier of Ireland and a political prisoner.  In April 1946, in protest against the terrible prison conditions, Sean Mc Caughey embarked on a hunger and thirst strike.  After 23 agonising days, Sean died 11th May 1946. Requiem Mass was held for him in Ardoyne, Belfast. He was subsequently buried in Milltown Cemetery where a

monument was erected to his memory.

If your going to sing a song , sing an Irish song


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