I was driving through Wicklow in 1987 when I  heard radio reports of the ongoing Zeebrugge ferry disaster in Belgium. People were dying at that very moment while I was enjoying the peace and beauty of the Wicklow hills. A similar contrast with the Battle of the Somme.

Wild Wicklow Hills


When I was nineteen, they sent me aboard a big ship
It took me to France
The crash of a shell blew my arse into hell
Took a leg off for fear I might dance
I lay in the mud that was crimson with blood
Studded with shrapnel and shell, bloody hell
The pain in my thigh, it darkened my sky
I dreamt of the wild Wicklow hills

CHORUS
Wicklow was peaceful that time of the year
The hush through her heather was all you could hear
In her hills and her valleys, no anguish or fear
There's peace on the wild Wicklow hills

The gave me a crutch and sent me back home
I pitied the men left behind
For those not soon dead, they were numbered instead
As crippled, as maimed or as blind
At Charing Cross Station, they turned round that train
Took more human fodder to war, bloody war
They hadn't a chance in those hell holes in France
The Somme, it ran red with their gore
Chorus

The war to end war was counted in cost
Twenty eight million missing or dead
But rather that end it, the second time round
We just doubled those numbers instead
We've killed and we've maimed, we've slaughtered again
And lord I just don't know what for; oh what for
There's flies in the eyes of a child as he cries
Indifference goes on evermore
Chorus