1916 Song Project

The 1916 Song Project was a research and performance project devised and produced by Michael Fortune and Aileen Lambert. The project featured ten traditional singers from throughout the island of Ireland who composed, researched and presented a body of traditional songs based on the 1916 Rising and the events surrounding it. Concerts took place throughout Easter 2016 in Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire, Fingal, Meath, Galway and Wexford, places where there was significant activity during Easter week.

For the project, Paul composed a song entitled ‘The Rise of Wexford Volunteers’ which was premiered during the Easter Monday State Commemorations in Enniscorthy on March 28th, 2016.

2016 concert dates and venues:
– Friday 15th April – The National Library of Ireland, Dublin
– Friday 22nd April – The LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
– Saturday 23rd April – The Seamus Ennis Arts Centre, Fingal
– Saturday 30th April – St. James COI Church, Athboy, Co. Meath
– Saturday 7th May – Nun’s Island Theatre, Galway City
– Saturday 14th May – The Athenaeum, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

From ‘God Save Ireland’ to ‘The Soldier’s Song’ to ‘Kelly, the Boy from Killanne’, many of the songs rendered by Volunteers in the run up to the 1916 Rising in Wexford were marching songs. Songs of chorus to rally and inspire, to drill to, to instil a sense of comradery and pride in the county’s long tradition of rebellion. Two songs made by Enniscorthy man Padraig Kehoe were sung to a thronged Athenaeum on March 1st, 1916, in the presence of Commandant P.H. Pearse, as were songs by O’Higgins, Davis, McCall, Kearney, Mangan and Rooney, and it was in the spirit of these vibrant songs of revolution that Paul’s song ‘The Rise of Wexford Volunteers’ was made. Put to the air of ‘Clare’s Dragoon’s’, ‘The Rise’ too is a marching song. Composed of six verses, with a chorus derived from the air’s original lyric, each line serves to paint a picture of the Rising-time in Enniscorthy, of when the town was proclaimed a Republic. And in the spirit of the orations and marching songs of old, it too is a song to be sung with gusto and volume as it attempts to rally the crowd by remembering the visionaries and heroes of a waking nation.

Recorded on the album Think Back Upon the Days and available on Bandcamp.