THE WEST'S AWAKE
This is one of the greatest of all Irish patriotic songs and I sang it as my encore for many years.
It was written by Thomas Davis (14th October 1814 – 16th September 1845), a member of the Young Ireland movement and founder of the nationalist newspaper, The Nation.
I recall singing it for the first time in the Las Vegas Ballroom in Tuam, Galway, around 1965 when I was singing in the Ramblers.
I knew some of the words from my school days but learned the rest of them from a Waltons’ songbook while travelling down to Tuam in an old Triumph Herald we shared. We changed in the car at the back of the hall before going in and sang for about fifteen minutes in the middle of the dance, giving the band a welcome break.
Seeing as we were in Galway, we thought it a good idea to finish our turn with the West Awake, which we did, belting it out in true Ramblers fashion. But sadly the dancers were far from impressed and regarded us only as an unwelcome interruption to their dancing!
We thought we were fantastic and pocketed the fifteen pounds fee with delight, but in truth we died a death and everyone was glad to see the back of us.
It was my first experience of singing in a dance hall. Little did I know that in a short time I would return to the Las Vegas with a number one hit under my belt, or that soon I’d be earning my living in the many dance halls that were scattered around Ireland at that time, and I would continue to do so for the next twenty five years.
I sang 'Rare Old Times' on Facebook today for our Weekly Wednesday Song.
So I feel that this Picture is quite relevant stitching the two together today as here we are on stage with The Dubliners in The O'Connell Hall in 1965.
Here is the Link to 'The Wests Awake':