Down in the Town of Old Bantry (The Black and Tan Gun)
DESCRIPTION: An Irish soldier is dying in Bantry "shot by a Black-and-Tan gun" He asks his comrades to bury him "out on the mountain Where I can see where the battle was won" They bury him, return to Dublin "with our victories over and won."
EARLIEST DATE: 1965 (recording, Tommy McGrath)
KEYWORDS: Ireland rebellion Civilwar IRA dying soldier
1920-1921 - The Black and Tan War
FOUND IN: Ireland
ST RcBlTaGu (Full)
Tommy McGrath, "Down in the Town of Old Bantry" (on Voice08)
NOTES: The "Black and Tans" were British reinforcements to regular British soldiers sent to Ireland in 1920. (source: Michael Collins: A Man Against an Empire copyright by and available on the History Net site) For more information see RBW note for "The Bold Black and Tan" - BS
Although details in the song are lacking, its setting in Bantry is quite reasonable; the south of Ireland was noteworthy for the fury of the contest with the English, with Cork being probably the single most active IRA center. Robert Kee, in Ourselves Alove, being volume III of The Green Flag, devotes pp. 102-103 to the atrocities committed by both side in Bantry.
The sad irony is that, once the Irish fought off the British, and achieved the Free State (see the notes to "The Irish Free State"), they proceeded to have a civil war (see "General Michael Collins"). That by implication dates this song to 1921 or 1922, before it became clear that the "victory" of the Black and Tan war just led to more violence. Of course, many Irish songwriters have tended to write about their successes and ignore the subsequent failures. - RBW
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