The West's Awake

Thomas Osborne Davis
Language: English

Related Songs

A Nation Once Again
(Thomas Osborne Davis)

(Apart from skirmishes in the Wicklow Mountains the 1798 United Irishmen Rebellion was seemingly crushed after the siege and subsequent shelling of the rebels encampment at Vinegar Hill in June 1798.

Two months later however, in August 1798, a small French fleet beached near Killala in County Mayo. Men from Ireland’s most western counties Sligo, Mayo and Galway joined the French army and brought the rebellion back to life.
Initially the combined French-Irish army, commanded by General Humbert, achieved some great successes in a campaign commonly known as the Races of Castlebar. The successes of this small army filled up with untrained civilians, where primarily due to the lack of crown forces in the west. French reinforcements arrived too late and the advance came at a standstill when they met the English forces near Ballinamuck in County Longford. The ensuing Battle of Ballinamuck marked the end of this French invasion of Ireland.)
When all beside a vigil keep,
The West’s asleep, the West’s asleep
Alas! And well may Erin weep
When Connacht lies in slumber deep.
There lake and plain smile fair and free,
‘Mid rocks their guardian chivalry.
Sing, Oh! Let man learn liberty
From crashing wind and lashing sea.

That chainless wave and lovely land
Freedom and nationhood demand;
Be sure the great God never planned
For slumb’ring slaves a home so grand.
And long a brave and haughty race
Honoured and sentinelled the place.
Sing, Oh! Not even their sons’ disgrace
Can quite destroy their glory’s trace.

For often, in O’Connor’s van,
To triumph dashed each Connacht clan.
And fleet as deer the Normans ran
Thro’ Corrsliabh Pass and Ardrahan;
And later times saw deeds as brave,
And glory guards Clanricard’s grave,
Sing, Oh! They died their land to save
At Aughrim’s slopes and Shannon’s wave.

And if, when all a vigil keep,
The West’s asleep! the West’s asleep!
Alas! And well may Erin weep
That Connacht lies in slumber deep.
But, hark! A voice like thunder spake,
The West’s awake! The West’s awake!
Sing, Oh! Hurrah! Let England quake,
We’ll watch till death for Erin’s sake

Contributed by DonQuijote82 - 2011/12/29 - 12:03

Main Page

Please report any error in lyrics or commentaries to

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by