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.[1] 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.[2][3]

The song was first recorded in 1979 by Danny Doyle, reaching the top ten in the Irish Singles Chart.[1] The song charted again in 1982 for Barleycorn, reaching number seven in Ireland,[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] P V Tanner recorded this because of his sympathy for the Irish plight those years ago and is thus dedicated