March Away My Brothers

MAMB PICSept 17 – 20

Written and performed by Brendan MacQuaile

‘What a great show, we enjoyed ourselves immensely’……..Joe Duffy,RTE.
‘Our Members sang along and enjoyed every note’…..Des Byrne, Dublin Fusiliers Assoc.

Tickets: €12
Bookings: 087-1129970

‘What a great show, we enjoyed ourselves immensely’……..Joe Duffy, RTE.

‘Our Members sang along and enjoyed every note’…..Des Byrne, Dublin Fusiliers Assoc.

‘March Away My Brothers’is a one man show taken from the Book of the same name by Brendan MacQuaile; it follows the journey of a young Irish Lad, Lawrence Kelly from Bridgefoot Street in Dublin’s Liberties to the Christmas Truce in 1914, somewhere near the Messines ridge in Flanders where many Irish fought and died during the course of this terrible conflagration. But Larry’s story is not one of hell and damnation, let’s face it, he is already dead, blown to bits at the now infamous Passchendaele and remembered only as an inscription on the Menin Gate. Larry looks back with the excitement of the early call to arms still palpable, the Guinness Pals brigade forming after Kitcheners call to arms and the sheer chaos and melee of new troops arriving in France, gung ho, ready to serve the crown, and do their bit before it was ‘ Over by Christmas’.
Many of the popular songs of the time are included as an integral part of this fascinating tale. Songs such as ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and’ There’s a long long trail a winding’ were popular hits for singers such as John McCormack and Stanley Kirby during the war years and they are sung with Gusto in this performance. Some modern reflections in song are also included. And finally to the Christmas truce, an impromptu meeting of soldiers from both sides, on a bitter cold Christmas Eve in an area known as ‘no man’s land’. Shared cigarettes, and photos. Shared experiences that revealed similarities between the troops, similarities that the Top Brass would rather keep hidden ………



‘March away my brothers, softly march away.
Lest our dead will hear us, softly take you away.
Oh, the night is cold for them, brothers once so gay.
Sleeping, dreaming, waiting, till the judgement day.’

‘March away my brothers, softly march away’ is a line from the poem ‘The Watchers on Gallipoli’ by George Chester Duggan, a Dublin man who served with the Royal Irish Regiment in the Dardanelles and whose two brothers were killed in Suvla on 16 August 1915, during the Gallipoli campaign. In our world of instant downloads it is hard to imagine the part songs played in the lives of soldiers in the First World War. Lacking recordings of any kind, they learned songs from sheet music and sang while they marched and waited and at performances in makeshift venues behind the lines in Flanders and Picardy. Everyone associates ‘It’s a Long Long Way to Tipperary’ with the British forces (although it had nothing to do with Ireland): the First World War also produced classic songs like ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ by Ivor Novello, ‘Keep Right On to the End of the Road’ by the great performer Harry Lauder and ‘Roses of Picardy’ by Frederick Weatherly and Haydn Wood, some of which were written to boost the morale not of the soldiers at the front but of their loved ones at home. In each chapter of the book, the author, Brendan MacQuaile focuses on one area of conflict, from the Dardanelles to the Somme, telling the story of Irishmen who left their homes and families behind to seek adventure in a foreign war, from which many of them never returned.

Download Brendan MacQuaile’s recording of ‘Old Gallipoli’s a Wonderful Place’ Here

Download Brendan MacQuaile’s recording of ‘The End of the Road’ here

Download Brendan MacQuaile’s recording of ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ here






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