The Girl With The Beret

by Kate O'Callaghan

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1.
I turned into O’Connell St. passed Tom Clarke’s shop and heard the sound of marching men. I fell in behind a company of volunteers and they told me the scrap was starting. They told me to go home but I kicked in the glass of a side window and jumped in. A priest had taken up his position at the back of the main hall and the men queued up for confession.
2.
Mother said go with her, walk with your sister down Your brother has gone with his gun and the fight is on Tear up the sheets, get your kit and your uniform on The boys have gone to be men and the fight is on They are Rising Men Down Rising Men Down Alice, she went with her friend off to Liberty Hall But I was drawn to the men and their marching call Past old Tom's, Mr. Clarke nine days later he would fall To the sound of the firing squad by the prison wall They are Rising Men Down Rising Men Down They are Rising Men Down Rising Men Down "Katy go home, we'll tell Paddy on you" they said But the girl with the hound at her feet was calling ahead And under the gaze of Hibernia, sad and tall The boys of 1916 began to fall As Mercury guided them in through the doors Bathed and dressed and absolved In the presence of the Lord Liam he fell by the phones with the war in his hands And the boys now men I held in my arms They are Rising Men Down Rising Men Down They are Rising Men Down Rising Men Down
3.
Safe Passage 00:34
I crossed the street under fire and it was dark by this time. The Volunteers were told to hold their fire while I was crossing but there were bullets coming from the O’Connell St. area. “Don’t worry” said the Captain, “I’ll signal that you are going across so that you will have a safe passage”. Through byways and alleyways, through houses and across dividing walls. One kind soul made me a cup of tea and I did not half relish it.
4.
Lay 04:26
Here I come, hold your fire Here I run, hold your fire Here I come, don’t shoot me down Here I run, you offered me safe passage If I could lay, lay my head down Lay, lay my head down Here I come, I am the messenger I run through streets on fire for you Through alleyways and barricades The fear of God is in me but I’ll stay true If I could lay, lay my head down Oh lay, lay my head down Is it the unrelenting drive to meet requests? Or the kindness of the woman who offers rest? That makes us more than hand maidens? If I could lay, lay my head down Lay, lay my head down If I could lay, lay my head down Lay, lay my head down Here I come, hold your fire Here I run, hold your fire
5.
He wrote the dispatch and I noticed as he was writing that he had a gold bangle on his arm. I said to myself “I wish I had that” and thought it very funny seeing a man wearing a bangle. I took off my velvet beret and pinned the dispatch inside my thick hair. I pulled the hair up over it, tied it up with a pink ribbon and put on the beret.
6.
Hair wound thick round the note that he wrote Safe and hidden and bound by a ribbon Of pink silken courage, a stalwart array Wrapped in the tale of a velvet beret Laced with a blessing in Gaelic of old She took her instruction and did what was told But she couldn't help notice what hung from his hand A strange golden bangle the colour of sand Ooh What kind of man would wear such a thing A man of great wealth or maybe a king Or maybe a lover who wants to remember The reason he fights for his Grace-full defender For he was a poet, a scholar of prose Immersed in a language of one who hopes Hopes for the tempest that roared up and broke His mad heart that died when his wild love awoke Ooh The girl with the beret knew not of despair On the day that she carried his note in her hair To the men on guard at the gates of the courts Delivered with pride, a message of force And on her way back through streets under fire She climbed to the top of a look out tower And the whistling sound of a bullet did pass By her head as she watched through the looking glass, the looking glass Two holes left in the beret that she wore That carried the note from the man on the floor With the strange golden bangle the colour of sand A gift from his lover in turn for his hand But the joy of the young girl's narrow escape Was shrouded in sorrow by a cruel twist of fate As the kindness of mercy that spared her that day Surrendered the love of the poet who lay In the grave of his marriage to the woman that he loved For they wed in the chapel just hours before The young Joseph Plunkett was shot in the head And the strange golden bangle was all that was left And the girl with the beret... She remembered.
7.
The Guards 00:30
My mother was always known as the mother of ‘The Guards’. Every member of this Unit could enter our house at any hour and always be sure of a bed for the night and ample food for a hearty meal. Her name will not be engraved on the walls of Rome or the Ruins of Ancient Greece, but will remain forever in our hearts.
8.
Oh Mother 04:19
Oh Mother, Oh Mother What could you do when they called you? And how can we tell the story from the truth? But know that your love was greater than it all Larger than our lives and stronger than the fall Oh Mother, Oh Mother We’d follow you to the ends of this earth Where the souls that you fed now rest Your name shall not be engraved On the walls of Rome or the ruins of Greece But in our hearts, every broken piece Oh Mother, Oh Mother We’d follow you We’d follow you
9.
Secrets 00:46
17 North Richmond Street became an active centre, honeycombed with secret hideouts, where arms and explosives were stored in readiness. My father had made a dump for arms at the side of the fireplace. The house was subject to day and night raids but in no case did they ever discover the secret.
10.
The Walls 05:08
If the walls could speak on North Richmond Street I wonder what they’d say Would the speak of places hidden deep Where unknown secrets lay On borrowed time Someone’s loss enshrined In dirt and grime A dead man’s fate defined If the walls could speak on North Richmond Street I wonder what they’d say Would they whisper of the gatherings Where frightened faces prayed On borrowed time Someone’s loss enshrined In dirt and grime A dead man’s fate defined And all the time they hold The secrets of the fold And all the time they hold The story that she told
11.
TBC 01:45

about

All songs written by Kate O'Callaghan
Arranged and Produced by Kate O'Callaghan and Seamus Devenny
Recorded and Mixed by Orri McBrearty (Attica Studios, Donegal)
Mastered by Richard Dowling (Wav Studios, Limerick)

Artwork by Kate O'Callaghan
Design by Manna.ie

The Girl With The Beret is a concept mini-album by Irish singer/songwriter Kate O'Callaghan. Inspired by the Witness Statement (Bureau of Military History) of her great-grand aunt, Catherine Rooney (Neé Byrne), who fought in the 1916 Rising in Dublin, Ireland.

credits

released October 3, 2016

Musicians:
Kate O'Callaghan
Seamus Devenny
Tim Jarvis
Martin Smyth
Declan McClafferty
Stephen McDaid
Billy Robinson
Kevin Murphy

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Kate O'Callaghan County Donegal, Ireland

Kate O'Callaghan is a singer/songwriter based in Donegal, Ireland. Combining evocative melodies with intelligent considered lyrics, she covers a gamut of styles and emotions from Alt. Folk to Jazzy/Blues, the sublime to the cathartic. Evocative, haunting, poignant and refreshingly uplifting, with a unique aspect that explores the less obvious paths tonally as much as the expected. ... more

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