Shankill Butchers — Irish History in Song
It seems that every time and place has bogeyman stories parents tell their children to frighten them to behave. Often the bogeymen in such stories were real, at some point in the past, but have become a folktale fright over time. In the The Decemberists’ “Shankill Butchers” the bogeymen are most certainly real, and recent.
The Shankill Butchers ride tonight You better shut your windows tight They’re sharpening their cleavers and their knives And taking all their whiskey by the pint ’Cause everybody knows If you don’t mind your mother’s words A wicked wind will blow Your ribbins from your curls Everybody moan, everybody shake The Shankill Butchers’ wanna catch you awake They used to be just like me and you They used to be sweet little boys But something went horribly askew Now killing is their only source of joy The Shankill Butchers on the rise They’re waiting ’til the dead of night They’re picking at their fingers with their knives And wiping off their cleavers on their thighs The Shankill Butchers’ wanna cut you The Shankill Butchers’ wanna catch you awake Awake… Awake… Awake
Several of the Butchers are free men after being released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
This song officially gives me the jibblies.