St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of our Irish heritage and here in the States we associate it with Corned beef and Cabbage and Irish Songs about Finnegan’s Wake and 7 Old Ladies Stuck in a Lavertry.
However there are many beautiful tunes that deal with the divided Ireland. We should always remember on St. Patrick’s Day that Ireland is still not a free nation.. Over the years many young Irish men have given their lives in the cause for Freedom that they hold as dear as the Patriots did here in Boston in the days of Paul Revere and the Minutemen.
This Song below is about the four provinces of Ireland. Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster. Parts of Ulster are free and independent but. 6 counties of the province of Ulster are what we call Northern Ireland. The Majority of the people living there support their union with the UK but a growing Nationalist population could result in the democratic unification of Ireland down the line, with the help of God in a peaceful process. This Song describes the history of Ireland quite well.
Four Green Fields: Tommy Makem
What did I have?” said the fine old woman
“What did I have?” this proud old woman did say
“I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, they fought to save my jewels
They fought and died, and that was my grief” said she
Long time ago” said the fine old woman
“Long time ago” this proud old woman did say
“There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved by mountain valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood” said she
“What have I now?” said the fine old woman
“What have I now?” this proud old woman did say
“I have four green fields, one of them’s in bondage
In stranger’s hands, that tried to take it from me
But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers
My fourth green field will bloom once again” said she
Along the same Lines is the beautiful unofficial National Anthem of Ireland:
A Nation Once Again
When boyhood’s fire was in my blood, I read of ancient freemen;
Of Greece and Rome who bravely stood, three hundred men and three men. And then I’d prayed I yet might see, our fetters rent in twain, And Ireland long a province be a Nation once again.
CHORUS: A Nation once again, a Nation once again and Ireland, long a province, be a nation once again.
And from that time through wildest woe that hope has shone, a far light, Nor could love’s bright summer glow, outshine that solemn star light. It seemed to watch above my head, in forum field and fane, its angel voice sang round my bed, a Nation once again.
There are also many songs about the IRA and it’s Fight for Freedom. Two of my favorites are
A Soldiers Song:
We’ll sing a song, a soldier’s song with cheering rousing chorus,
As round our blazing fires we throng the starry heavens o’er us;
Impatient for the coming fight and as we wait the morning’s light, Here in the silence of the night we will chant a soldier’s song.
Chorus: Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland; Some have come from a land beyond the wave.
Sworn to be free, no more our ancient sire land Shall shelter the despot or the slave.Tonight we man the “bhearna bhaoil” In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal Mid cannons’ roar and rifles peal,
We will chant a soldier’s song
The Patriot Game – tells the story of a Young Man and his sacrifice for Ireland
Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing, For the love of one’s country is a terrible thing. It banishes fear with the speed of a flame, and it makes us all part of the patriot game. My name is O’Hanlon, I’ve just gone sixteen. My home is in Monaghan, that’s where I was weaned I learned all my life cruel England’s to blame, And now I am part of the patriot game.
This Ireland of ours has for long been half free. Six counties are under John Bull’s tyranny. And most of our leaders are greatly to blame for shirking their part in the Patriot game
They told me how Connolly was shot in his chair, His wounds from the battle all bleeding and bare. His fine body twisted, all battered and lame that soon made me part of the patriot game.
It’s nearly two years since I wandered away with the local battalion of the bold IRA, For I read of our heroes, and wanted the same To play out my part in the patriot game.
And now as I lie here, my body all holes I think of those traitors who bargained and sold I wish that my rifle had given the same To those quislings who sold out the patriot game.
So while we celebrate with a taste of the creature (Irish Whiskey ) or have a pint let us not forget the struggle for Freedom that still exist in Ireland today and pray that no more blood needs to be shed to indeed make it A NATION ONCE AGAIN.