We have clipped two of the top paragraphs of Paul Breen’s article in The Football Pink below. You can access, the outstanding full article: here.
Limerick, as a city, has a unique place in Irish history. Better still, a unique place in world history, thanks partly to its lovely neighbour with a girl’s name – County Clare. Located on the banks of the River Shannon, this city has been raided by the Danes, fought off the English, declared its own Soviet Republic and become synonymous with a song for an Irish Republican gunman. That song, Seán South of Garryowen, has been sung far and wide, and the story behind it remains contentious to this day. Yet, politics aside for a moment, it serves as a perfect example of music’s undying power to preserve, and even alter perceptions of history.
In this particular song, as with many another, a healthy layer of poetic licence has been applied. The protagonist of the song, Seán South, never actually hailed from the suburb of Garryowen, a place more famous for rugby in sporting versions of history. Myth though, in music and in folklore, is a powerful thing. There’s another legend of Limerick too, featuring a certain rugby playing revolutionary; a man widely recognised as the Diego Maradona of left-wing politics.