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Irelands uprising in ninteen sixteen was crushed by the state
The ringleaders were arrested and death would be their fate
Charged with the crime of treason against the British Crown
Fifteen men faced a firing squad and without mercy shot down.
It caused outrage in Ireland, and support for independence grew
And from ninteen ninteen a guerrilla war did ensue
An eighteen year old medical student called Kevin Barry
Joined the republican movement to help set Ireland free.
The British empire was determined to keep Ireland at any cost
And as the violence escalated both British and Irish lives lost
The British needed reinforcements and came up with plans
To recruit men who became known as the notorious Black and Tan's.
They were sent over to Ireland by Winston Churchill
And were encouraged by the state to be ruthless and kill
They were psychopaths and undisciplined and carried out atrocities
Shooting innocent civilians and burning properties.
A shortage of guns and ammunition made it necessary
To carry out surprise raids against the British army
One such raid was carried out on soldiers, at a Dublin bakery
The rebels lost the element of surprise and it ended in tragedy.
Three soldiers died in a shootout and the rebels forced to flee
But one rebel got left behind, volunteer Kevin Barry
The first rebel to be captured and was tortured brutally
British soldiers carried out his interrogation, with impunity.
They wanted the names of the rebels who were with him that day
And dispite him being tortured he gave nothing away
A military court found him guilty and said he'd face the hangman
The first person to face execution since the independence war began.
A campaign to commute his sentence was by the British turned down
They wanted to send a stern message, to enemies of the Crown
On a cold morning in November in nineteen twenty
The British carried out his sentence, the death penalty.
They sent reinforcements to Mountjoy jail, and stationed them outside
Michael Collins realised a rescue mission, would have been suicide
Not being able to rescue Kevin Barry as he walked to his death
Troubled Michael Collins who often spoke with regret.
Many more followed Kevin Barry in the fight for liberty
And it was their ultimate sacrifice that set Ireland free
Barry's bravery is often remembered and ballads have been sung
About this brave young volunteer, whom by the British was hung.
Written on 14th June 2021.
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