These roads – a new song from Úna Quinn

Songs often connect us to the past. Like roads, they link ideas and help us navigate our thoughts. They can remind us of childhood or teach us a new lesson.

It is 175-years since c.1.3m people came, from the island of Ireland, through the gates of Clarence Dock (pictured) and in to Liverpool. Of those, many -c.300,000- stayed and others travelled to far flung corners of the world. Ireland’s population is still to recover from this period of loss.

As custodians of the Liverpool Irish Famine Trail, the Festival is running a series of projects to develop ways of telling the story of An Gorta Mór (Ireland’s Great Hunger).

In acknowledgement of the anniversary, the Festival -supported by The Institute of Irish Studies at University of Liverpool– have commissioned locally-based talents -Úna Quinn and Neil Campbell- to develop a song, marking the struggle and ongoing legacy of those fleeing the Famine to Liverpool. This is that song.

It will have its first public performance at the Lisa Lambe NightVisiting event (Fri 20 Oct 2023), performed as part of #LIF2023, and will be sung live again at the Irish Famine Memorial (Sun 29 Oct).


Click the play arrow below to listen to Those Roads (c) Úna Quinn and Neil Campbell.

Whilst you can listed to the song above, you can download Those Roads on Bandcamp, and support the artists, here.

Those roads – lyrics

As provided by the writers.

This is only,
One story
Making too much demands on
It’s just a figure of it

When there is no sense in things,
And time is leaning over
The past will find a way to vent
Fir briste, Mna briste (broken men, broken women)
Nothing changes,
Róluchtaigh (overload)

When there’s no sense of safety
It starts with talking straight
Are we going to just let it happen
All over again
And when there is no place to sleep
The shadows hang in the corner
In hopes that day might shed some light

Fir bhriste, mna bhriste
Nothing changes

Upset the cart that carries everything along.
The deeper it goes along
The harder it falls

Fear saibhir (rich man)
Caillte sna rudaí (lost in things)
Fear Bocht (poor man)
Fear Daibhir (poor [serious] man)
Are we going to just let it happen again

An bóithre sin (those roads)
It’s no secret now
All over
Those roads
They are still there

Lyrics and copyright: Úna Quinn.

We’d like to thank Úna and Neil for their song, Lisa Lambe for allowing in to be premiered during her event and The Institute of Irish Studies for their support.

The Institute of Irish Studies logo.