There Were Roses

© By Tommy Sands

Click Here for Artist's page in Archive

This song was written about two friends who were the victims of tit-for-tat killings by loyalist and republican paramilitaries. It illustrates the futility of these killings when the people involved were friends regardless of religion or political belief.

Tit-for-tat killings between Republican and loyalist paramilitaries became increasingly frequent and severe as the Troubles continued in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

Copyright courtesy of Tommy Sands (Elm Grove Music)

On the album ‘‘Singing of the Times’


My song for you this evening
Is not to make you sad
Nor for adding to the sorrows
Of this troubled northern land
But lately I’ve been thinking
And it just wont leave my mind
I’ll tell you about two friends one time
Who were both good friends of mine

Isaac he was Protestant
And Sean was Catholic born
But it never made a difference
For the friendship it was strong
And sometimes in the evening
When they heard the sound of drums
They said they wont divide us
We will always be as one

There were roses, roses
There were roses
And the tears of a people ran together

It was on a Sunday morning
When the awful news came round
Another killing had been done
Just outside Newry town
We knew that Isaac danced up there
We knew he liked the band
But when we heard that he was dead
We just could not understand

Now fear it filled the countryside
There was fear in every home
When late at night a car came
Prowling round the Ryan Road
A Catholic would be killed tonight
To even up the score
Oh Christ, it’s young MacDonald
They have taken from the door

There were roses, roses
There were roses
And the tears of a people ran together

Isaac was my friend he cried
He begged them with his tears
But centuries of hatred
Have ears that do not hear
An eye for an eye
That was all that filled their minds
And another eye for another eye
Till everyone was blind

Now I don’t know where the moral is
Or where the song should end
But I wonder just how many wars
Are fought between good friends
And those who give the orders
Are not the ones to die
It’s Scott and young MacDonald
And the likes of you and I

There were roses, roses
There were roses
And the tears of a people ran together

Further Infomation






“There were Roses” is certainly one of the best songs ever written about the “Irish Problem”. . .