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Sea Green Singers - Only our rivers run free - score and lyrics - click on image for graphic
cleaned up score as pdf file from Strawberry Thieves

Only our Rivers Run Free - Mickey MacConnell (1965)? Arr.: The Wolfe Tones

Mickey MacConnell, from Northern Ireland, wrote this song in 1965 before the 'Troubles' which began in late 1966. The song expresses quite gently the sadness of colonial occupation and the sacrifices of those who fought against the English occupiers. A year after the song was written the conflict between the Protestant settlers originally from England who supported union with England and the native Irish Catholics who wanted independence in the North of Ireland from English rule and a united Ireland began in earnest (Southern Ireland had already gained independence in the Irish War of Independence in 1922.)

1. When apples still grow in November
When blossoms still bloom from each tree
When leaves are still green in December
It's then that our land will be free

2. I wander her hills and her valleys
But still to my sorrow I see
A land that has never known freedom
Where only her rivers run free

3. I drink to the death of her people
The ones who would rather have died
Than to live in the cold chains of bondage
To bring back the rights we’re denied

4. Oh where are you now when we need you?
What burns where the flame used to be?
Are you gone like the snows of last winter?
And will only our rivers run free?

5. How sweet is life, but we're crying
How mellow the wine, yet we’re dry
How fragrant the rose, but it's dying
How gentle the wind but it sighs

6. What good is in youth when you’re aging?
What joy is in eyes that can see
That there's sorrow in sunshine and flowers
If only our rivers run free