The Dying Rebel


Athenrye "The Dying Rebel" (Clan Music 04) ***** Wow. This is a band of whom I have always been inordinately fond. To date they have released two CDs and two cassette only albums, and this is probably the best to date. Unlike previous offerings the emphasis is not so much on traditional Irish rebel songs but on contemporary material which often takes a less `cut & dried` stance than the more traditional songs like `Boys from the Old Brigade`.

One song in particular, "The Sniper`s Promise" is particularly interesting as it agonises over the moral position of an IRA sniper who has just shot a member of a British Army foot patrol. It takes a far more sensitive view of the issues than songs like "The Armagh Sniper" on the previous CD (`My Last Farewell`).

Musically there are also changes - the sound is less piano driven than before and the production is both warmer and far more accomplished. We look forward with interest to the release of the live material later in the year.


From the mean streets of the Streets of New York. From West Palm Beach to West Belfast.

Irish Rebel Ballad group Athenrye have been there and back again, taking with them the history of Ireland in song and story. Their rousing rebel ballads celebrate the great patriots, leaders, and events that have shaped modern Ireland.

From the 1790 Rebellion, Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy, The 1916 Easter Rising, Padraig Pearse, Joseph Plunkett and James Connolly, to the Long flesh Hunger Strikes of 1901, Athenrye live shows and concerts are a musical history of Ireland's struggle against oppression, famine and her search for peace, justice and freedom.

Since the formation of the band in 1990, Athenrye have travelled many miles, all over Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. The U.S.A - New York, Boston, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Connecticut and Florida! to Canada, Niagara Falls and Toronto, making many new friends along the way. They have shared the stage, and a few drinks, with many of Irelands leading balladeers including The Dublin City Ramblers, The Clancys, Paddy Rielly and of course The Wolfe Tones.

Athenrye have recorded four bestselling albums of Irish rebel ballads arid recently recorded a live video which is due for release in March 1999.

Their busy tour schedule continues right through 1999 when they are scheduled to tour the USA in March, August & September. This is in addition to a two month tour of Ireland in June & July as well as nation-wide tour of England Scotland and Wales.

The lads still harbour the same enthusiasm today for the music of Ireland's history that they did when they set out all those years ago. Whether singing a patriotic ballad such as James Connolly or a rousing chorus of The Boys of the Old Brigade, one thing is evident - these lads believe in what they do and say. One word sums it all up.. Honesty.

While other bands may be content in keeping a low profile, Athenrye have stood up, sung out, spoke out fought, rebelled and campaigned for what they believe in.

Who fears to speak? Not Athenrye.


The Irish Globe,2001.

In the City of Glasgow one cold February evening in 1993, four young(ish) Irish musicians got together in the Scotia Bar in Stockwell Street. The meeting was to discuss their common idea of forming a professional Irish ballad group that would appeal to the thousands of second-generation Irish living around the city and in other parts of Scotland.

Each musician was already performing with successful bands at the time-The Blarney Pilgrims, Celtic Connection and Clantara. With the help and guidance of Bill Biggam, successful manager of The Blarney Pilgrims, they started on a journey that would make them the most popular Irish rebel band around-second only to The Wolfe Tones.

They toured every Celtic irish club in Scotland and quickly branched out to England and Ireland. As their popularity grew, they were asked to perform in the USA and Canada and were featured on television, radio and in newspaper articles across the world. They recorded 5 best selling albums of Irish rebel music and were the first Glasgow Irish group to do so. They also had the distinction of being the first Glasgow Irish group to perform as headliners at The West Belfast Festival, Glasgows Barrowlands/Plaza/Renfrew Ferry and to be the first Glasgow Irish group to receive a gold disc for one of their recordings-Ordinary Sunday.

Since those early days they have toured and performed constantly all over Europe, the USA and Canada and still keep alive the flame that was lit all those years ago in The Scotia Bar in Glasgow.

They have earned themselves a place in the history of the Irish rebel balladeer and are very proud to be part of that tradition.

Paul Carey-The Irish Globe, January 2001.


....The story of the Irish republican struggle has been recounted in song by balladeers for centuries. Rebel ballads are a true reflection of the history of Ireland's struggle for freedom and her fight against oppression, famine and injustice. From the 1798 rebellion to the great famine. From The 1916 Easter Rebellion. To the Long Kesh Hunger Strikes of 1981. There is a ballad to cover every major event in Ireland's history. But what of the balladeers? Who has been responsible for keeping alive the Irish Republican ballad tradition? In the last 40 years The Wolfe Tones, Dublin City Ramblers, The Barleycorn , Paddy Reilly, Tommy Makem and The Clancys have all played a major part in popularizing the old ballads as well as writing a few new ones.

Today The Irish Brigade and Black 47 are among the current crop of Irish bands writing about the current situation in Ireland. Through time, their songs will also become part of the repertoire of the Irish ballad groups of tomorrow. Irish rebel ballad group Athenrye have been performing these songs for the best part of a decade. They sing out - night after night - and are proud to be a part of the tradition of the Irish rebel balladeer. They continue to promote the message of Irish republicanism through their music.


The Irish Post

Athenrye are part of the long tradition of bands who sing about all aspects of Irish society-not just ballads and come-all-ye's about love, drinking and the craic, but also the somewhat trickier subjects of oppression, injustice and insurrection. They are based in the capital of Greater Ireland (aka the Diaspora) Glasgow - three of the band were born there, the other in Dublin - but their culture and music is 100% Irish.

In this album, The Dying Rebel, Athenrye pay tribute to some of the great figures who have shaped modern Ireland - James Connolly, who like themselves was born in Scotland and who was in large part responsible for part of Ireland gaining its freedom, and Eamon De Valera, also a child of the Diaspora being born in the second city of the Diaspora, New York, who largely shaped the character of modern Ireland. And of course in this year, the two hundredth anniversary of the 1978 rebellion, the great song of the United Irishmen, Henry Joy, had to be included in any collection of Irish music. Henry Joy was born, brought up and hanged all in the same small area of Belfast - what you might call local aspirations, but he had a great vision of a free, independent, just Ireland which many since have espoused - from the poet and martyr Padraig Pearse to the 1981 hunger striker Joe McDonnell.

Athenrye are a band who have always sung about what is important to them - Irish music, Irish culture and Irish Freedom. In this album they continue to do it with their usual class, verve and virtuosity. Always an exciting sound whether live or on record, somehow the poet Hugh McDairmuid's words seen particularly appropriate for Athenrye: Scots steel tempered with Irish fire is the only weapon I desire.

Malcolm Rodgers-The irish Post


Derek Warfield

Ireland's folk music is expressed in many ways. Today you find it sung with pride in many countries where the Celtic family settled over the centuries. The Irish Ballad is the Father of American and Australian Folk music, and has influenced musical development all over the world. The Aussies have their bushwackin' ballads-their Ned Kelly's. The Irish Newfoundlanders have their sea songs; the Irish Americans have their Kathleen Mavourneens. The Glosgow Irish have their rebel songs and ballads of sport, wit and humour. Above all they have the Football Club-Glasgow Celtic-and it was, and is, their Bush, Sea and Prairie.

The Irish have been traveling to Alba (Scotland) in great numbers since our earliest recorded history. Ties between the two countries down through the centuries have been strengthened by such powerful figures as St. Colmcille (Columba) by the migrant workers of Mayo and Donegal, and by the musicians and bards who journeyed the Caledonian countryside over many centuries. Add to the above a common bond of language, literature, music and song-not forgetting the sporting bonds-the Shinty and Hurling Gaels, Edinburgh Hibernians and Glasgow Celtics. Ireland and Scotland have a common social and cultural tradition but sadly this heritage has not always been happy and joyful, for both lands suffered a colonial experience at the hands of the English oppressor. The consequences of all this intercourse are to be seen in the communities of Scotland today. No two cities present so much of this common heritage as do Dublin and Glasgow and here we have it represented on this disc in the persons of Glasweigian Terry Manton and Dubliner Joe Bracken-the band known as Athenrye.

The Irish Patriot James Connolly was born in Cowgate, Edinburgh and lived many years in Dublin. He said of city tenements in Scotland and Ireland that "if misery was not in your room, it was above or below you, or across the hall". The Irish in Glasgow and Dublin got it tough. It must be remembered that in colonial Britain and Ireland, privilege, discrimination, bigotry and hatred were accepted facts of life. So you will find in Glasgow and Dublin today, a generosity of spirit and friendliness that is born out of a past filled with shared misery, hardship and struggles. The music of Athenrye reflects these communities. It will make you sit up, listen and sing along above all it is hard to ignore. So Athenrye, like the communities they represent, say it, and sing it "as it is" fearless in words, musicians, balladeers and no apologies. They are not afraid to record and perform new songs like tributes to Irish patriots such as Raymond McCreesh and Michael Collins, or remind us of our past history-good an bad.

To be a Glasgow performing balladeer you have to have all the requirements that have made the Irish Ballad tradition as powerful and as widely supported as it is around the world today. It is part of every Irish and Scottish community from Edinburgh to Sydney and from Boston to Berlin. To be a successful ballad entertainer you have to be a good musician, to educate and be able tell a story, be able to sing and perform and to move an audience. Athenrye have all these ingredients plus they sing with pride and passion and are spontaneous in their response to an audience. If you learn all these performance skills in Scottish clubs and pubs you have been taught in some of the toughest venues in the world-for in Glasgow, like Dublin-everyone is an entertainment critic! Hal Roach, the Irish comedian once told me that Glasgow Apollo and other city theatres were the graveyard for many an entertainer. He used to say that gladiators got it easier in Rome's Coliseum. He reckoned that if an entertainer survived at Glasgow Apollo or lived through performing to a Dublin Saturday night audience he "had made it".

Athenrye -born in Ireland, made in Glasgow-have a great natural talent and love what they do and this is reflected in their music and song. With Joes Dublin wit and Terry's wry humour they have a powerful duo. The ballads are sung from the heart and they can perform, both on and off disc, with a passion and skill that gives them the edge over many of their contemporaries. I first visited Glasgow in 1962. It was at my grandmothers bidding and it was all that she had told me, generous people, warm welcome and great fun. She loved the city and had lived there for eight years. I loved the city and it's people since that time. You will too, for the music of Athenrye will bring you closer to a unique tradition. Joe and Terry have played many shows around the world and are great ambassadors of the communities they represent. This cd is a labour of love and part of a living musical tradition-enjoy it. I say slainte go deo agus gach beannach (health forever and every blessing). Long live Athenrye and the Glasgow Irish Balladeer.

Derek Warfield of The Wolfe Tones


Athenrye Press Release-USA Tour March 2001

Irish rebel balladeers Joey Bracken and Terry Manton - founders of Athenrye - take to the road again for their 10th US tour.

The band - formed in 1993 - have been performing all over Europe and North America with their own interpretations of classic Irish rebel songs. They have recorded 5 best-selling albums and have performed alongside many of Ireland's legendry performers such as The Wolfe Tones, Paddy Reilly and The Dublin City Ramblers.

The tour will start in Miami and will take the lads across the US to San Francisco and back to New York, stopping off at a few old haunts along the way. Special guests on several dates will be Cork Ballad-singer Pat Dunlea and Irish/American Folk singer Bill Egan.

Athenrye will also be promoting their latest album 'Athenrye - Live in New York'. This album was recorded on an earlier tour and features sixteen great songs: The Irish Republican Army/Little Armalite, Down By The Glenside, The People's Own MP, Raymond McCreesh, Father's Blessing, McElwee's farewell, Irish Soldier laddie/Say hello to the Provos/Tiocfaidh ar la/My old man's a Provo, Brave Tom Williams, Long Kesh, 4 Green Fields, George & Pop, Johnston's Motor Car, The Broad Black Brimmer/Some say the Devil is Dead/Hail Hail the Celts are here/The Man from Mullingar/The helicopter Song, The Streets of Gibraltar, The Galtee Mountain Boy.

The album is available from the band's website and will be available at any of the tour venues listed below:

Thursday 1st March The Playwright Miami

Fri 2 The Shamrock & Thistle Titusville Fl

Sat 3rd The Shamrock & Thistle Titusville Fl

Sun 4th Dicey Reilly's Ft Lauderdale Fl

Thursday 8th The Playwright Miami Fl

Friday 9th The Shamrock & Thistle Titusville Fl

Sat 10th The Abbey Tavern San Francisco CA

11th The Abbey Tavern San Francisco CA

12/13th available

14th The Half Door Hartford CT

15th The Irish Club Kearney New Jersey

Frid 16th The Kilmeggan Queens NY

Sat 17th The Parlour NY

Sun 18th John Boyle O'Rielly Club Springfield MASS

For further info please contact Clanmusic Ltd

Clanmusic Ltd.




Their music is steeped in history and tells of Irelands struggle for Independence. You do not have to have a political view to listen to Rebel songs. Athenrye are a great live band to listen to and their Cd's are no exception. They believe deeply in what they sing about and do it well with a blend of ballads and traditional songs with great favourites such as "The Field Of Athenry," to long lost rebel songs like the " Black and Tans", This album is certainly an eye opener if you don't know much about the struggle for independence in Ireland It is an education in itself. but this does not stop you from enjoying the rousing songs such as "The Men Behind The Wire", and " Roll of Honour", This will get your feet tapping, and there are some excellent reels on the album. Rebel songs have been around for hundreds of years in every counrty in the world.

Athenrye are excellent musicians with matching vocals and are a great acoustic band and should get credit for their musical skills and not just for what thy sing about.Listening to Athenrey doesn't make myself or you a rebel. QuoteJon Downes.The Planet on Sunday 2 Jan 2000

I asked the band what their greatest musical ambition was "To make an album without any rebel songs" said Joe ruefully "because then, and only then would it mean that we had peace".

They most certainly will be able to say to their grandchildren that they did their part to keep the history of the struggle in Ireland alive for generations to come.


Athenrye Press Release

Irish Rebel ballad group Athenrye have just announced their forthcoming tour dates for Ireland and America.

The lads will appear in Ireland from 11- 22 November 1999 and will also tour the USA from 24 Feb - 20 March 2000. This is in addition to their busy schedule at home that will see them perform 15 nights between now and Christmas that will take them from The Embassy Rooms in Aberdeen to The 32 Club in Manchester.

They will also appear in Glasgow's Barrowland as special guests of Ireland's best loved balladeers The Wolfe Tones in October.

This rounds up another busy year for Athenrye.

The start of the year saw the departure of founder member Jimmy McGinley who played drums and whistles with Athenrye for six years. Jimmy left to spend more time with his young family and a replacement was found in the form of current All-Ireland Champion Kevin O'Neill from Donegal. Kevin has made himself a firm favourite with the band's fans already and is proving himself as a worthy successor to Jimmy.

1999 saw the release of the band's live album and Video which has proved to be their most successful album to date. The band also contributed a track from their first album 'Ordinary Sunday' to the Friends of Noel Cassidy campaign CD along with Rebel ballad groups Saoirse, Black 47 and various other Irish bands. For more info on the Noel Cassidy campaign please visit

Athenrye also completed two successful tours of the USA in 1999.

March saw the band performing all over the east-coast and August took the lads through to the mid-west for the first time. They were featured in several newspapers and also took part in several live radio broadcasts.

They also performed in Ireland in July - taking in Dundalk Co Louth, Derry, Moy Co Tyrone, Donegal, Galway and Fermanagh. Athenrye also performed a special fund-raiser for the residents of The Garvaghy Rd, Portadown.

At present the band are in the studio recording their sixth album which will hopefully be released next March. It looks like 2000 will be another great year for Irish Rebel Band Athenrye. For more info on the group please visit their website

Clanmusic Ltd.



Live at the Barrowlands

The fifth album and the third to come out on CD, this (together with its accompanying video) capture what one can suppose is a typical gig by Glasgow`s finest. It sounds reminiscent of their first CD (`My Last farewell`) rather than the warmer and alightly more dense sound on the more recent studio album, but proves without doubt that this band can cut it live as well as they can in the studio.

Musical highlights are `The SAM Song` (a re-write of `Ghost Riders in the Sky`) and `Ordinary Sunday` (which has always been arguably the greatest song in their repetoire).

If I have any criticisms it is that the songs on the CD and video are exactly the same - a pity because I would have liked to have seen more material available. This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite bands. The drumming, which fuses the 4/4 beat of contemporary folk rock with the complex contrapuntal thythms of marching bands on both sides of the Atlantic is a high spot of the instrumentation, and when I realised that this extraordinary drummer is also the tin whistle player then one can only be in awe of the man`s talent. Good One Guys.



My Last Farewell

As anyone who has ever shared a hotel room with me will know, I have a sneaking regard for Irish music, and as anyone who has ever seen me being thrown out of a hotel bar will confirm, I have an especial liking for Rebel Songs. This ain`t the time nor the place to get into a political discussion. There have been many deeds of great bravery - and great brutality perpetrated by people on both sides during the Irish Rebellions of the last two hundred (or more) years, and I ain`t gonna be drawn into entering the political arena. This album, though, by a band of WolfeTones wannabes is a stonker. Consisting of rebel songs old and new played by a stripped down line up of electric piano, mandolin, guitar, bass and drums with the occasional tin whistle this is the real thing. Stand out tracks include The South Armargh Sniper (composer T.R.Heaney must win the prize for the least politically correct lyric of the decade here), and the title track, allegedly setting to music a poem written by Padraig Pearse the night before his execution in 1916.

©John Adderley 2001