Ask an Irishman who is their #1 hated historical figure and many would nominate Oliver Cromwell. After he overthrew the monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) embarked on an invasion of Ireland in 1649. His purpose was to reassert English control after the Irish had rebelled against Protestant English rule. The vengeful actions of Cromwell's army, particularly the battles of Drogheda and Wexford, in which thousands of civilians were massacred after the capture of the towns have made his name synonymous with English oppression in the minds of Irish nationalists. Flogging Molly frontman Dave King told Alternative Press magazine how the British ruler inspired this song: "There was a man by the name of Oliver Cromwell, who basically tried to wipe the Irish race off the face of the Earth. I started off with 'Oliver Boy,' then it goes into what's going on in the Middle East right now - when will the stupidity of conflict actually end? I started off with him, and I brought it to the present day, because things haven't really changed in that area of humanity: fighting over land and religion. Like, 'Oh my God, would you please stop?'"
Another song to reference Cromwell in its title is Elvis Costello's 1979 UK hit "Oliver's Army." Morrissey's 2004 UK #3 hit "Irish Blood, English Heart" also brings up the controversial 17th century English statesman.