Tracy Connolly in her Army days
Watch Tracy recite her poem: Click here for The Bloods read by the author
A former soldier has written a poem about a Kilkenny-based army battalion.
Tracy Connolly wrote ‘The Bloods’ after the nickname for the 3rd Infantry Battalion which was based in the Curragh but now based in James Stephens Barracks in Kilkenny.
The battalion traces its history back to 1923 when the garrisons of several towns in the north-west of Ireland were ordered to amalgamate and form the 3rd Infantry Battalion.
Tracy, who now works as a healthcare assistant in Cork, took up writing poetry during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Tracy said: “I was inspired to write the poem by an ex member of the Bloods.
“I know the lads would really love to be remembered and recognised for the Trojan battalion they were.
“I think a singer of the calibre of Christy Moore should record the poem as a song because there are a lot of links to Kildare in it.”
Tracy joined the Army in 1994 and underwent intensive training in the Curragh to become a communications expert.
She said: “I loved the Curragh as it was like being in an army movie with so many trucks, jeeps, panhard vehicles and troops running and marching all around the camp.
“It was a complete military family in view everywhere.”
Tracy later served on peacekeeping duty in Lebanon and Kosovo which was a challenging environment but she was well trained.
She added: “This lockdown has arisen my true passion for writing.
“I hadn’t time for writing all these years between the army and other jobs.
"I’m now truly loving poetry and my first book is gone for editing.”
It was a garrison of several towns back in 1923
When it was ordered to amalgamate during the great emergency
The southeast was then protected with their soldiers in full sight
For fear of an invasion, one must keep things pretty tight.
The 3rd Infantry Battalion under the 9th brigade rule
Situated in Boyle and Dockery Barracks became the cool
The years following the war of independence were extremely rough
But the 3rd Battalion marched on and they were never giving up
A great Officer Bernard Sweeney certainly gave good pace
As the Donegal command was scattered about the place
Upon reading the Gazette something did not fit
Where’s my bloody Battalion? It’s needed to commit
So around 1929 3rd Battalion finally came to be
Placed in McDonnagh Barracks in the Curragh camp to see
Training with the Lewis machine gun always seemed just right
But the switch to the Vickers made the Battalion ignite
Tactical exercises and Battalion shoots just became the norm
With German type coal scuttle helmets bringing into form
A war-like appearance, the Irish Army seemed to show
From running the Curragh plains and shouting out, gung-ho
The Bloods’ huge achievements just didn’t seem to end
Producing rifle and revolver teams, being their godsend
From the hurling to the football and boxing at the glow
Was there anything the Bloods didn’t do or didn’t even know?
Little did they predict those officers and those men
That many years on, their duties would not end
For they have seen every corner of Ireland’s greatest map
From the Curragh to Flood Hall and Kilkenny to the Congo trap
With the state of world tension back in 1938
And the handling over of the treaty ports one could not annihilate
That this was the great Battalion simply of our time
And In memory of an old soldier that will do just fine
In 1946 the Bloods saved farmers’ crops
And were surrounded by people who praised them as top-notch
Their home was Connolly Barracks and they’re very proud to say
The colours of red and white reflect where they lay
In 1968, Northern Ireland was troubled with civil rights
So the Bloods raised 3 border battalions loaded up in sight
It’s a memory for sure they never will forget
Knowing their Blood comrades who did their very best.
Once an old Blood said to me ‘Bloods will never die’
They’re the bravest, maddest, funniest humans he’s ever known
And one day it will be our time to reorg
As Dílis Go Bráth you’re my forever home
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