25 km from Galway city lies the small town of Athenry (Athenrai). As the bus whizzed past, our tour guide played a song (ballad) on the audio system that gave us a sense of the Great Irish Famine (1845 – 1850), the potato famine that had killed over a million men, women and children.
The song mentions a farmer, Michael from Athenry who stole a few heads of corn (from Lord Trevelyan’s field) to feed his starving children but got caught, imprisoned and deported to Australia (Botany Bay). In the ballad, Michael tells Mary to raise their child with dignity.
Watch the haunting Irish ballad on Youtube.
Dr Premanand M E
Into the wide wide open.
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