Fields of Athenry

For everyone who loves this great Irish ballad…

By the lonely prison wall I heard a young girl calling
Michael they have taken you away
For you stole Trevelyan’s corn
So the young might see the morn
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.

Low lie the fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly
Our love was on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry.

By a lonely prison wall I heard a young man calling
Nothing matters Mary when you’re free
Against the famine and the crown
I rebelled they cut me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity.


By a lonely harbour wall
She watched the last star falling
As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she’ll wait and hope and pray
For her love in Botany Bay
It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry.


Written by Pete St. John in the 1970s and set during the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1850, the Fields of Athenry is about a fictional man named Michael from Athenry, County Galway, who was sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay in Australia for stealing food for his starving family.

It’s a great song, popular with Irish rugby and football fans, and well known around the world.



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