What does Drunken Lullabies mean?

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Flogging Molly: Drunken Lullabies Meaning

Song Released: 2002

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Drunken Lullabies Lyrics

Must it take a life for hateful eyes
To glisten once again
Five hundred years like Gelignite
Have blown us all to hell
What savior rests while on his cross we die
Forgotten freedom burns
Has the Shepard led his lambs astray
to the bigot...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 27th 2008 report

    This song is about the sectarian violence Ireland and Northern Ireland dealt with. I think it is about how ridiculous for the Catholic and Protestants to continue to use violence against one another. The drunken lullabies are the songs each side sings to itself to justify perpetuating the violence against each other, but they are each singing the same drunken lullaby.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 20th 2016 report

    Hello, I'm Irish and i've noticed some of these interpretations are wrong so i'll give you the full story behind this song:

    This song is about the conflict mainly between the Irish and the English, but it's also about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Ireland was colonised by the English in 1536 in the province of Ulster, it was here that the first English settlers stayed and converted the local population to Protestantism (so at the time of writing this article the lyric "500 years like gelignite" would actually be "480 years like gelignite") and we had successive waves of Kings and Queens colonising us, But we fought back all the time to keep ourselves under our own control.. We were forced to convert to Protestantism when we were colonised and our culture, religion and language (Irish Gaelic) was banned under the Penal Laws. We set up "Hedge Schools" where we would be taught the forbidden material away from the eyes of the English. During The Great Famine (or in Irish "An Gorta Mór"/"The Big Hunger") we were hit by the potato blight that staved almost 1 million people to death and 1 million ended up emigrating to the UK, America and Canada (Irelands population at this time was about 8.2 million, so a million died and a million left Ireland, our population still hasn't recovered from this event being around 4.7 million as of 2016), This was and still is a topic of great sorrow and anger for us to talk about, Our hatred for the English grew so much that we ended up having wave after wave of rebellions, the most famous being led by Protestant Dublin born aristocrat Theobald Wolfe Tone in 1798, then Daniel OConnell and Robert Emmet (who said his famous epitaph: "Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance, asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then, let my epitaph be written"). The biggest revolt that took place against English rule in Ireland was in 1916 in Dublin City. At this time Northern Ireland was mainly Protestant and the rest of the country Catholic. These 2 sides hated each other with a bitter resentment that can still be felt today, this erupted into violence and hatred in the 60's and was known as the Troubles, but a peace agreement was signed in the 90's and now Northern Ireland is a lovely place to go.

    In conclusion; this song is basically a protest and ant-war song, calling for English and Irish, Protestant and Catholic to put aside our differences and realise that we can live in peace together if we let go of what happened in the past and what we're all equally responsible for doing to each other.

    Hope this helped you understand this brilliant song a little better! :-)


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    Andy Lever
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    Jul 19th 2011 report

    The song is quite obviously about the troubles in Ireland between catholics and protestants but I personally don't feel that it's an Irish Rebel song. Irish Rebel songs generally over glorify Irish catholics. The song doesn't glorify either side of the conflict. This is maid very clear within the first verse. "Must it take a life for hateful eyes to glisten once again" Is simply why should people from either side need to die for the other to feel good about themselves. These lines are followed by "Five Hundred years like Celignite has blown us all of to Hell" Is essentially saying the 500 or so years of conflict in the country has destroyed the whole thing not putting any blame on any one side but both. Again following this is "Has the shepherd led his lambs astray to the bigot and the gun" Is essentially saying the religious leaders on both sides agree with the actions and encourage it spurring the people they are supposed to be guiding spiritually to acts of hatred and violence. Drunken Lullabies itself is essentially a way of saying we've but stuck like this they only way to sleep now and ignore the turmoil is to get drunk and sing of better times to quell the conscience. Over all the song is an anti-war song, more than that it's an anti-bigot song and it is essentially a way of telling both sides in the Irish conflicts to put down the guns, put aside the hostilities and respect each other for being Irish and in general people and get along.

  4. anonymous
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    Jan 3rd report

    It refers to the troubles in Northern Ireland, the conflict lasted nearly 500 years. Gelignite was an explosive commonly used by the IRA. The basic meaning is does conflict have to result in death? Do we have to be so hateful to one another to feel like we are righteous? The title and chorus suggest that the topic still gets discussed in a very passionate and heated way especially when drunk and that the troubles may have been settled but it still boils deep in the blood

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 17th 2012 report

    it is about conflict between the catholic south ireland and the predominantly protestant north ireland and how neither side is happy unless the other is hurt and it is about how each side convinces they are right by singing drunken lullabies

    the catholics being correct and the british in north ireland should get out because 36+6=1

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  6. anonymous
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    Jan 8th 2011 report

    Historically gelignite was used by the IRA as an explosive and Ireland has fought England for a every long time hence the 500 years which I would consider a 500 year war "the same old mess" so all together I believe that it is simply about England and the IRA as with most Irish rebel songs

  7. anonymous
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    Mar 14th 2010 report

    Whoever said that this song was simply about getting drunk is an ignorant fool... It is about the IRA and the oppression the catholics these people faced and how it tore people apart. "And the bullet with this sniper lie in a bloody gutless cell." this refers to an IRA prisoner."Must we starve on crumbs from long ago. This line speaks about the opressiom prisoners of the IRA faced from the british. It is much deeper then "a simple drinking song"

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 20th 2010 report

    Personally, i think this song is about drinking your troubles away. It may be a simple interpretation but i think it makes sense. Getting drunk and crying yourself to sleep with Drunken Lullabies.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Aug 18th 2009 report

    the lyrics are very political. this song is about the Ireland's push for freedom, and is wondering why the nation has remained so violent for 500 years.

  10. anonymous
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    May 3rd 2009 report

    i think the line "Must it take a life for hateful eyes To glisten once again" means something along the lines of why does a person have to die for someones revenge because it seems like anytime something bad happens to someone they want to use violence to solve the issue other than that im preety sure its saying that the violence is just as stupid as getting drunk. some people are saying this is about people from past wars singing about it but if it were that then why would it say "we find ourselves in the same old MESS sining drunken lullabies" if it was about old war veterins i dont think they would call the situation a mess

  11. anonymous
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    Aug 6th 2007 report

    I think that in the first verse he is talking about how god seems to have turned his back on the world by letting death happen.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. kklash
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    Apr 19th 2007 report

    To me this is about how it would take a death for some of us to find whats important in life such as a death of our loved ones
    "does it take a life for hateful eyes to glisten once again"

    thus talking about how life isn't as important as it should be to the individual and we should stand up for each other.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. Basis
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    Feb 6th 2007 report

    The lines "Has the Shepard led his lambs astray
    to the bigot and the gun" refers to how the youth of america has been raised to think of things in gun-crazy terms and have thoughts that they might not realize are racist, or sexist.

    "Ah, but maybe it`s the way you were taught
    Or maybe it`s the way we fought" reinforces how the youth has been raised, and how it is still a mystery on what aspect of the nation has changed us so greatly from the others.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Oct 24th 2006 report

    I think it's about going to a bar where a bunch of old war heros get drunk.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. sven
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    Sep 24th 2006 report

    The way I take it, its just about all the soldiers of wars past signing songs around the camp fires at night. Singing about their buddies they lost and such and how their life is. And singing drunken lullabies is what keeps them all sane.

  16. anonymous
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    Mar 18th 2006 report

    Song about war and the violence it causes and how its just as stupid as being drunk.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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