The Boys of Barr na Sráide

"The Boys of Barr na Sráide" is a well-known Irish song from a poem written by Irish poet Sigerson Clifford (1913–1985). It is named after a street (Irish: Barr na Sráide, meaning "top of the street") in Cahersiveen in County Kerry, Ireland. Clifford was born in Cork city, though both his parents came from Kerry.

"The Boys of Barr na Sráide"
Released1950 (1950)s
Songwriter(s)Sigerson Clifford

The song was first published in Ballads of a Bogman, 2nd edition, in 1986. However, it was well-known long before the book was published, though it did not appear in the first edition (1955).[1]

The poem recalls the life of the author's boyhood friends starting from when they were young children through to the Black and Tan period, and up to Civil War. The poem speaks of the Irish tradition of "hunting for the wran" (wren), a small bird, on St. Stephen's Day, 26 December.[2]

The song was first aired on Irish radio by singer Seán Ó Síocháin on a programme called The Balladmakers Saturday Night in the 1950s. Ó Siocháin got to know Clifford through their work on the programme. The song was requested many times and became the most popular song of the series.[3] It has since been recorded by numerous traditional and folk singers. Christy Moore popularised it in the 1970s and later it was recorded by Seán Garvey and Tim Dennehy, both from Cahersiveen.



  1. ^ Clifford, Sigerson (1955). Ballads of a Bogman. Cork: Mercier Press. ISBN 1-85635-010-X.
  2. ^ Tim Dennehy website - Lyrics
  3. ^ Tim Dennehy website