No.52 Pining by Patrick Tunney

This poem was written while an inmate in Frongoch internment camp at Frongoch, Merionethshire, Wales. In the fourth verse we read that “I am pining, ever pining,Pining ‘mongst the hills of Wales”.

Frongoch was an abandoned distillery with crude wooden huts surrounded by barbed wire. In each of the camps, prisoners elected their own commandants and established a chain of command with group and hut leaders. Frongoch was a makeshift prison during the First World War of German prisoners of war. In the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, German prisoners were moved and it was used for the internment of approximately 1,800 Irish prisoners.

It became known as Ollscoil na Réabhlóide, ‘university of revolution’, as the seeds of revolution which lead to the War of Independence took root there. Morale was kept up by cultural activities, sports and lectures Notable internees at Frongoch included Michael Collins, Batt O’Connor, Thomas McCurtain, Terence MacSwiney, Sean Hales and thirty one men from Westport, including Patrick Tunney. They were accorded the status of prisoners of war. An amnesty was declared and at Christmas 1916 and the internees were released.

Ah, my heart is ever pining,
For the freedom of the Gael.

I am pining, ever pining,
Pining for Dark Rosaleen.
Till her emblems are unfurled,
‘mongst the nations of the world.
Ah, my heart is ever pining,
For the orange, white and green.

I am pining, ever pining,
Pining ‘mongst the hills of Wales.
Where a sordid hand is swaying,
Irish freedom thus allaying.
Ah, my heart is ever pining,
While such lustful might prevail.

I am pining, ever pining,
Pining for the happy days.
That I spent in Holy Ireland,
‘mid the mountains and the mireland.
Ah, my heart is ever pining,
To be back among “the Braes”

I am pining, ever pining,
Pining, till I wield a blow.
For poor suffering Mother Erin,
Of her sorrows I am sharin’
Ah, my heart is ever pining,
For freedom’s radiant glow.