The Boys of the Old Brigade

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For the English slow march, see The Old Brigade

The Boys of the Old Brigade is an Irish republican folk song written by Paddy McGuigan about the Irish Republican Army of the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921),[1] and the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.[2]


The song describes a veteran of the Easter Rising telling a young man about his old comrades in the Irish Republican Army. Each chorus ends with the Irish language phrase "a ghrá mo chroí (love of my heart), I long to see, the Boys of the Old Brigade".[2]

The song begins:
Oh, father why are you so sad
On this bright Easter morn’
When Irish men are proud and glad
Of the land where they were born?
Oh, son, I see sad mem'ries view
Of far-off distant days
When, being just a boy like you
I joined the IRA.

The chorus is:
Where are the lads that stood with me
When history was made?
A ghrá mo chroí, I long to see
The boys of the old brigade.

Glasgow Celtic fans[edit]

In 2006, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell suggested that he was embarrassed by "offensive" chants in support of the Provisional IRA, even though these songs were political and not "overtly sectarian".[4] In 2007, Celtic chairman Brian Quinn suggested that the "Boys of the Old Brigade" had no place at Celtic Park.[5]

In 2008, UEFA abandoned an investigation into Celtic supporters singing the "Boys of the Old Brigade" due to lack of evidence.[6]

In April 2011, Strathclyde Police chief superintendent, Andy Bates, warned that as part of a crackdown on sectarian singing at an upcoming Old Firm game: "If you sing the Boys Of The Old Brigade, we'll arrest you and there have been convictions in court before where that song is concerned."[7]

BBC Sportscene's Rob MacLean accused Celtic supporters of being sectarian for singing the song in May 2011.[8]

In 2011, a Scottish court suggested that those showing support to the IRA were not being offensive to members of "a religious group",[9]


External links[edit]