Written by Black 47 lead singer Larry Kirwan, this song is about Michael Collins, one of the leaders of the Irish Revolution. It takes the listener from the beginning of Collins' work with the IRA, fighting British auxiliary police forces (the "Black and Tans") to Collins role in negotiating a treaty based on a partition of Ireland. This partition exists to this day, with Northern Ireland being part of the United Kingdom. Because of this compromise, Collins was killed in 1922 by members of an anti-treaty faction of the IRA. This latter part of his story is recounted in the lyrics:
And they sent you off to London to negotiate a deal And to gain us a republic, united, boys, and real But the women and the drink, Mick, they must have got to you 'Cause you came back with a country divided up in two We had to turn against you, Mick, there was nothin' we could do 'Cause we couldn't betray the republic like Arthur Griffith and you We fought against each other, two brothers steeped in blood But I never doubted that your heart was broken in the flood And though we had to shoot you down in golden Beal na Blath I always knew that Ireland lost her greatest son of all >>
Suggestion credit: John - Los Angeles, CA
This was featured in the Sons of Anarchy episode "Lochan Mor."