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Viva la 5ª Brigada


Around the time I saw the light of morning
A comradeship of heroes was laid
From every corner of the world came sailing
The Fifty International Brigade.

They came to stand beside the Spanish people
To try and stem the rising fascist tide
Franco’s allies were the powerful and wealthy
Frank Ryan’s men came from the other side.

Even the olives were bleeding
As the battle for Madrid it thundered on
Truth and love against the force of evil
Brotherhood against the fascist clan.

Viva la Quinta Brigada,
No Pasaran, the pledge that made them fight
Adelante was the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight.

Bob Hilliard was a Church of Ireland pastor
Form Killarney across the Pyrenees he came
From Derry came a brave young Christian Brother
And side by side they fought and died in Spain.

Tommy Woods age seventeen died in Cordoba
With Na Fianna he learned to hold his gun
From Dublin to the Villa del Rio
He fought and died beneath the Spanish sun.


Many Irishmen heard the call of Franco
Joined Hitler and Mussolini too
Propaganda from the pulpit and newspapers
Helped O’Duffy to enlist his crew.

The call came from Maynooth, “support the facists”
The men of cloth had failed yet again
When the Bishops blessed the Blueshirts in Dun Laoghaire
As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain.


This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan
Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too
Peter Daly, Charlie Regan and Hugh Bonar
Though many died I can but name a few.

Danny Boyle, Blaser-Brown and Charlie Donnelly
Liam Tumilson and Jim Straney from the Falls
Jack Nalty, Tommy Patton and Frank Conroy
Jim Foley, Tony Fox and Dick O’Neill.
(Chorus repeated)

Carlos Nuñez, Viva la 5ª Brigada


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Diez años antes de que viera la luz de la mañana
llegó una camaradería de héroes.
De cada esquina del mundo llegó navegando
la décimoquinta brigada internacional.

Vinieron para respaldar al pueblo español.
Para intentar detener la creciente marea fascista.
Los aliados de Franco eran poderosos y ricos,
los hombres de Frank Ryan vinieron del otro lado.

Hasta los olivos estaban sangrando (1)
cuando la batalla de Madrid tronó.
La verdad y el amor contra las fuerzas del mal,
la fraternidad contra el clan fascista.

¡Viva la Quinta Brigada!
“No pasarán” el compromiso que les hizo luchar.
“Adelante” era el grito por toda la ladera.
Recordémosles a todos esta noche.

Bob Hillard era pastor de la Iglesia de Irlanda (2);
desde Killarney vino a través de los Pirineos.
De Derry vino un joven y valiente Hermano Cristiano (3).
Lucharon y murieron juntos en España.

Tommy Woods, de diecisiete años, murió en Córdoba.
Con Na Fianna él aprendió a sostener su arma.
Desde Dublín a Villa del Río
donde luchó y murió bajo el sol de España.

Muchos irlandeses oyeron la llamada de Franco,
junto a Hitler y Mussolini también.
La propaganda del púlpito y de los periódicos
ayudó a O’Duffy a alistar a su banda.

La palabra vino de la Iglesia: ‘apoye a los fascistas’.
Los hombres del paño fallaron otra vez
cuando los obispos bendijeron a los ‘camisas azules’ en Galway (4)
mientras navegaban bajo la esvástica hacia España.

Esta canción es un tributo para Frank Ryan.
Kit Conway y Dinny Coady también.
Peter Daly, Charlie Regan y Hugh Bonar.
Aunque murieron muchos, sólo puedo nombrar a algunos.

Danny Doyle, Blaser-Brown y Charlie Donnelly.
Liam Tumilson y Jim Straney de Falls.
Jack Nally, Tommy Patton y Frank Conroy,
Jim Foley, Tony Fox y Dick O’Neill.

(1) Mención a la última frase del poeta Charlie Donnelly antes de morir en la batalla del Jarama.
(2) Anglicano.
(3) Católico.

« Viva la Quinta Brigada (listed as Viva la Quince Brigada in later recordings) is a Christy Moore song about the Irishmen who fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco. The title was inspired by a Spanish song about the war, ‘Viva la Quince Brigada’.

Moore wrote this song choosing to focus on the Irish socialist volunteers (who in later years became known as the Connolly Column) who were a small contingent within the 15th International Brigade.

The song was inspired by Spanish Civil War veteran Michael O’Riordan’s book Connolly Column. Moore said: “Without Michael O’Riordan I’d never have been able to write Viva la Quince Brigada. I must have performed the song over a thousand times and every single time I sing it I think of Mick and wonder how can I ever thank him enough. In Spain in 1983 I was reading his book, Connolly Column — the story of the Irishmen who fought for the Spanish Republic, and I began this song as I read on. The song was lifted entirely from his book.”

Moore’s original song title – which translates as “Long live the Fifth Brigade” – was a slip due to the similarity in Spanish between “quinta” (fifth) and “quince” (fifteen). The bulk of Irish volunteers served with the XV (Fifteen) International Brigade; the “Fifth Brigade” was not one of the International Brigades. The song later appeared listed as Viva la Quince Brigada as Moore corrected the mistake in subsequent recordings. Both titles are correct however, originally there were ten brigades in the Spanish army, the five international brigades were then added to the list making the 5th International Brigade the 15th Brigade of the Spanish republic.»