PJ Stacey, left, and JP (Sean) Burke, right.

JP and PJ write new poetic song for Ireland

by David Flynn

‘Ireland, Mother Ireland’ is a song that has recently been written by well-known Athlone men, PJ Stacey and JP Burke.

The poetic version of the Ireland story begun life through JP’s pen on Facebook, and once PJ put it to music and recorded the story; it began getting airplay on local radio.

“I wrote it as a poem about a year ago and posted it on ‘Athlone Down Memory Lane’ and I got lovely reactions from people as far away as America,” said JP, who is a prolific crime novelist. “PJ rang me about the poem and thought it could become a song and he asked me if he could have a go at it. That’s how it came about, and then he came to visit me with his recording, and played it, and I thought he did a great job.”

Both PJ and JP agreed that the song would be an up tempo number.

“We both said we didn’t want it to be a maudlin thing,” said JP. “PJ has a very nice voice and I’m very happy with what he’s done, and he’s really made it.”

JP Burke is the pseudonym of Athlone man, Sean Burke, who to date has written ten crime novels, most of which are part of a series featuring Detective Sergeant Scobie Tierney.

PJ Stacey has been involved in music for over 55 years as a singer, organist, French Horn player and also as a music teacher. He has been more than 30 years as choirmaster of Ss Peter’s and Paul’s Church.

“I know a lot of emigrants in America and many have commented favourably about my poems, so I thought I’d write something for emigrants and that’s where ‘Ireland, Mother Ireland’ came about,” said JP.

He mentioned Athlone's world famous tenor, John ‘Count’ McCormack in the lyrics of the song.

“I grew up about four doors away from where John McCormack was born in The Bawn and I always felt it was something to be proud of, that we came from where he came from,” said JP.

He also mentions the Irish writers Yeats, Behan and Joyce and gives a special mention to modern Irish singer Sinead O’Connor.

PJ Stacey was happy to create music for the Burke lyrics and said he would like to see the song gain a huge following in years to come.

He created the music in his own studio at his home in Ardbrae Park, Athlone.

“I worked on the melody for about two hours on my keyboard and it was five minutes long but I did a shortened version for the radio,” said PJ.

About 25years ago, PJ created a few songs with the late songwriter and stage comedian Tom Moore, who was a native of St Paul’s Terrace.

“Tom and I had a song called ‘Bingo’ and we did a Battery Heights song, years and years ago,” said PJ.

PJ’s late father, Bill Stacey, also wrote lyrics and one such song was about the Niemba ambush in the Congo, and PJ is considering putting a melody to the song in the future.

PJ says he hopes to play ‘Ireland, Mother Ireland’ in some of his local pub gigs in the future

“I’m not doing a lot of pubs at the moment, but I would definitely sing it at venues,” he said.

Also JP Burke has another song out this Christmas that had music put to it by another Athlone musician, Thom O’Neill.

“I wrote the song ‘Santa’s on His Way’ for children and put it up on Facebook and said that maybe somebody like Thom O’Neill might be interested, and he was and has put it up on Spotify and YouTube,” said JP. “Songwriting is an avenue that I’ve never looked at before, but people like Thom and PJ are very gifted musically and it’s nice to collaborate with them.”

Here are the lyrics

Ireland, Mother Ireland

I am of Mother Ireland - that land of ancient lore

Although I am now far away - I’m Irish to my core

Cuchulainn’s blood flows in my veins - the shamrock’s in my heart

Of that little isle on Europe’s edge - I will always be a part.

I am of Mother Ireland - the land where I was born

I can see in my mind’s eye - the early misty morn

The sunlight spreading o’er the fields - glistening with the dew

Shining through the rustling trees - giving them a golden hue


I am of Mother Ireland - you’re welcome at our door

I am of Mother Ireland - I’m Irish to the core.

I am of Mother Ireland - that land of glorious myth

A land of stirring music - of poetic skill and wit

The land of John McCormack - of Behan, Yeats and Joyce

Of the great Sinead O’Connor - with that soaring angel’s voice

I am of Mother Ireland - the land of sporting greats

The hallowed ground of Croke Park - welcoming all in through its gates

The inter-county rivalry - that sets the blood aflame

As warriors take to the pitch - to play their national game


I am of Mother Ireland - it is in my DNA

When people ask me where I’m from - I’m always proud to say

I’m from the land of Ireland - that lovely Emerald Isle

The words always spoken - with a winsome Irish smile

I am of Mother Ireland - since the first day of my birth

And Irish I will always be - until I leave this earth

Though being away can sometimes be sad - and sometimes can cause pain

I just lie back and close my eyes - and I am home again.

Chorus and repeat chorus