Since they came together in 1969—the Dawn of Ireland's present Troubles — the members of the Barleycorn have been. the minstrels of Hope amid Oppression. Their music, dealing with injustice and struggle, evokes the defiance of their Belfast tradition. Songs such as "The Men Behind the Wire", "the Boys of the Old Brigade" and others of their successes, have become the rally m sound of hope in the ghettoes of the Six Counties. But it is a long struggle as this album reminds us.
Here, on the Fields of Athenry in the 1840s. Irishmen and women faced starvation at worst, eviction or at best passage on a coffin ship to a New World. But from the Fields of Athenry. just as from the ghettos of Belfast, the music of the people harbours a hope for a better life—far from the degradations of the present. Through the music of the Barleycorn, we share in that hope. We feel the present but we shout our defiance and future free from oppression.
Darach Mac Donald (Sunday Tribune)