Friday, March 17, 2006

Best Irish songs ever

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I present my three favorite Irish songs...ever:


As we gather in the chapel here
in Old Kilmainham jail
I think about these past few weeks,
will they say we failed?
From our school days they have told us
we must yearn for liberty
Yet all I want in this dark place
is to have you here with me

Oh Grace just hold me in your arms
and let this moment linger,
They'll take me out at dawn
and I will die
With all my love I'll place this
wedding ring upon your finger
There won't be time to share our love
for we must say "goodbye"

Now I know it's hard for you my love
to ever understand
The love I shared for these brave men,
the love for my dear land;
but when glory called me to his side
Down in the G.P.O.
I had to leave my own sick bed -
To him I had to go


Now as the dawn is breaking
my heart is breaking too,
On this May Morn as I walk out,
my thoughts will be of you;
and I'll write some words upon the wall
so everyone will know: I loved so much
that I could see his blood upon the rose



'The Green Fields of France'

Well how do you do, young Willie McBride,
do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while 'neath the warm summer sun
I've been working all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
when you joined the great fallen of 1916.
I hope you died well and I hope you died clean
Or Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene.

Did they beat the drum slowly,
did they play the fife lowly,
did they sound the dead-march
as they lowered you down.
did the band play the Last post and chorus.
Did the pipes play the 'Flowers of the forest'.

Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined
Although you died back in 1916
In that same faithful heart are you forever nineteen
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Enclosed and forever behind the glass frame
In a old photograph, torn and battered and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.


The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze, it makes the red poppies dance
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there's no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard it's still no-man's-land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.


Now young Willie McBride I can't help wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did they believe when they answered the cause
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying was all done in vain
For young Willie McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.


'The Croppy Boy'

T'was very early in the spring
The birds did whistle and sweetly sing,
Changing their notes from tree to tree
And the song they sang was Old Ireland free.

T'was very early in the night,
The yeoman cavalry gave me a fright;
The yeoman cavalry was my downfall
And I was taken prisoner by Lord Cornwall.

As I was going up Wexford Street
My own first cousin I chanced to meet;
My own first cousin did me betray
And for one bare guinea swore my life away.

As I was walking up Wexford Hill
Who could blame me to cry my fill?
I looked behind, and I looked before
But my tender mother I could see no more.

As I was mounted the scaffold high
My own dear father was standing by;
My aged father did me deny
And the name he gave me was the "Croppy Boy".

T'was in Duncannon this young man died
and in passage east his body lies
so all good people who do pass by
say a prayer, shed a tear, for the Croppy Boy.


And of course, this one.