In the XIX century there was a resurgence of interest in Irish language, literature, history and folklore inspired by the growing Irish nationalism.
Romanticism brought the idea of nationalism, which became a central theme of Romantic art and political philosophy. Nationalism focused on the development of national language, folklore and traditions.
The poet starts the poem telling the Irish people to “remember the glories of Brien the Brave”, the great monarch of Ireland killed in the battle of Clontarf, in the beginning of the XI century. It is about the episode of the return of the Dalcassians, when they were interrupted in their return from the battle of Clontarf, by Fitzpatrick, prince of Ossory. The wounded men entreated that they might be allowed to fight with the rest: “let us be bound with our arms in our hands, and let our sons and our kinsmen be stationed by our sides; and let two warriors, who are unwounded, be placed near each one of us wounded, for it is thus that we will help one another with truer zeal, because shame will not allow the sound man to leave his position until his wounded and bound comrade can leave it like wise’. This request was complied with, and the wounded men were stationed after the manner which they had pointed out. And, indeed, that array in which the Dal g-Cais were then drawn, was a thing for the mind to dwell upon in admiration, for it was a great and amazing wonder”.
It is a nationalistic song to make people proud of their ancestors. Thomas Moore alluded to this episode in one of his Melodies, War Song.
Cecília de Melo