"The Island" as written by Trevor Charles Horn and Geoffrey Downes....
The Island (Paul Brady)

They say the skies of Lebanon are burning.
Those mighty cedars bleeding in the heat.
They're showing pictures on the television.
Women and children dying in the street
And we're still at it in our own place.
Still trying to reach the future through the past.
Still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone...


But Hey! Don't listen to me!.
This wasn't meant to be no sad song.
We've heard too much of that before.
Right now I only want to be here with you.
Till the morning dew comes falling.
I want to take you to the island.
And trace your footprints in the sand.
And in the evening when the sun goes down
We'll make love to the sound of the ocean

They're raising banners over by the markets
Whitewashing slogans on the shipyard walls
Witchdoctors praying for a mighty showdown
No way our holy flag is gonna fall
Up here we sacrifice our children
To feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday
And teach them dying will lead us into glory...

Repeat chorus

Now I know us plain folks don't see all the story.
And I know this peace and love's just copping out.
And I guess these young boys dying in the ditches.
Is just what being free is all about.
And how this twisted wreckage down on main street.
Will bring us all together in the end.
And we'll go marching down the road to freedom....

Lyrics submitted by CHAKA

"The Island" as written by Trevor Charles Horn Geoffrey Downes

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Island song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentCan't believe no one's commented on this, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. It's about Ireland, specifically Northern Ireland (Up here we sarifice our children
    To feed the worn out dreams of yesterday).
    bearhunteron May 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the last verse, is he being sarcastic, or is it a rebel song?
    FrankSidebottomon May 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe's being very, very sarcastic.
    CHAKAon May 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song was written around the time of the Remembrance Day bombing in Enniskillen, and certainly has some influence on the lyrics. Enniskillen is also known as the 'Island Town', because of its location between two Loughs, and may have some relevance to the song's title.

    In the lyrics he speaks of "rising banners over by the markets", and "Whitewashing slogans on the shipyard wall". The markets is a well known Republican area surrounding St George's Market in Belfast, and the Shipyard is in East Belfast, near a Loyalist area. So, the song could also represent Belfast.

    "Witch-doctors praying for a mighty showdown" Just look up some of Ian Paisley's rhetoric on youtube and you'll see what this means!
    EamhainMhachaon September 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to Paul Brady, this song is half about the goings on in north ireland, and half a love song. Sort of like, a man is talking to the women he loves about what's going on, and then catches him self going on and on about something so depressing "But hey, don't listen to me
    'Cause this wasn't meant to be no sad song
    We've heard too much of that before
    Right now I only want to be with you", and starts telling her how much he loves her.
    lycaoon March 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWhat a beautiful song! I've liked its music for years and years, but recently listened to words properly and believe it to be a real pacifist's song and I wish I could sit down would-be terrorists to listen to it and realise what a waste of their lives it would be if they died in terrorist activities and to wish them to want to be around to shape their future - Mahatma Gandhi's methods are an alternative.
    Kermitthelittlegreenthingon November 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song to me is the most descriptive song about living in N Ireland during those years. I don't think its really a love song. Its about the weariness of living in the constant low level hostility and violence and the island is the release from that pressure and repressive atmospher. It describes peoples yearning for peace for normality and the reality that, at that time, normality and peace was a totally unattainable dream.
    rabdogon May 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI discovered this by accident whilst revising for a promotion and it stopped me in my tracks. I love the dynamic going on between heartfelt sensitivity to a partner yet getting distracted and drawn back into the troubles of the world.
    eastofeaststlouis7on March 22, 2017   Link

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