The Fields Of Athenry
"The Fields of Athenry" is an Irish folk ballad set during the Great Irish Famine (1845-1850) about a fictional man named Michael from near Athenry in County Galway who has been sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food for his starving family. It is a widely known and popular anthem for Irish sports supporters The Fields of Athenry" was written in the 1970s by Pete St. John. A claim was made in 1996 that a broadsheet ballad published in the 1880s had similar words; however, the folklorist and researcher John Moulden found no basis to this claim, and Pete St. John has stated definitively that he wrote the words as well as the music.
The song was first recorded in 1979 by Danny Doyle, reaching the top ten in the Irish Singles Chart. The song charted again in 1982 for Barleycorn, reaching number seven in Ireland, but the most successful version was released by Paddy Reilly in 1983: while peaking only at number four, it remained in the Irish charts for 72 weeks. Two further versions have since reached the Irish top ten: the Cox Crew getting to number five in 1999, while Dance to Tipperary peaked at number six in 2001.
The lyrics say the convict's crime is that he "stole Trevelyan's corn"; this is a reference to Charles Edward Trevelyan, a senior British civil servant in the administration of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Dublin Castle. Trevelyan believed that the starving Irish could subsist on maize, a grain that they had no knowledge of or experience in preparing. P V Tanner recorded this because of his sympathy for the Irish plight those years ago and is thus dedicated