There Were Roses

"There Were Roses" is an Irish folk ballad written by Northern Irish singer, songwriter and storyteller, Tommy Sands. The lyrics are based on a real incident that took place in Northern Ireland in 1974. The song recounts how Allan Bell, a Protestant friend of Sands, was murdered in a senseless act of violence in Newry. In the aftermath, a group of local Protestants "prowled round the Ryan Road" for a Catholic to kill in retaliation; ironically, the man they selected, Sean O'Malley, had been a good friend of the Protestant victim and also of Sands.

Cara Dillon version

The song was covered by Sands' compatriot Cara Dillon on her 2003 album "Sweet Liberty" and featured in the BBC series Billy Connolly's World Tour of England, Ireland and Wales during a segment concerning the Northern Irish murals.

For her version, Dillon left out every other verse, moved the choruses, and changed the names of the victims to Isaac Scott (the Protestant) and Sean MacDonald (the Catholic). The song was also covered by The Woods Tea Company but added back in the lyrics from the original Tommy Sands work but kept the Isaac Scott and Sean MacDonand names. [ [ Lyrics to Cara Dillon's version.] ]

Robbie O'Connell version

Robbie O'Connell recorded an earlier and complete version in the US on the Green Linnet label. It was re-released on the “Green Linnet Records : The Twentieth Anniversary Collection”. [ [ Scottish, Irish & Celtic music! ] ]


External links

* [ Lyrics to "There Were Roses"]
* [ Article: "Songs That Bind Us: The Music of Tommy Sands"]

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