A Little Irish Music

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a couple of great Irish songs I grew up listening to.  This post is dedicated to my two favorite South Side Irish leprechauns, Elizabeth Quinn Toner and John Casey Toner, who instilled in my sister, five brothers and me an undying pride in being Chicago South Side Irish.       (Also known as Mom and Dad.)

FOUR GREEN FIELDS

What did I have? said the fine old woman*

What did I have? this fine 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 is my grief, said she.

Long time ago, said the fine old woman.

A long time ago, this proud old woman did say.

There was war and death.  Plundering and pillage.

My children starved.  My mountains, 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 strangers’ hands, who tried to take it from me.

But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers.

My four green fields will bloom once again said she.

* Old woman -Ireland

**Four green fields – the four provinces of Ireland(Leinster,Ulster,Munster,Connacht)

***Strangers – the English

****One field in bondage – Ulster, which is still under British rule

 THE ORANGE AND THE GREEN

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

Oh, my father was an Ulster man, good Protestant was he.

My mother was a Catholic girl,  from County Cork was she.

They were married in two churches, lived happily enough.

Until the day that I was born and things got rather tough.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

Baptized by Fr. Reilly, I was rushed away by car

To be made a little Orangeman, me father’s shinin’ star.

I was christened David Anthony, but still in spite of that,

To my father, I was William, while my mother called me Pat.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

With Mother, every Sunday, to mass I’d proudly stroll.

Then after that, the Orange lads would try to save my soul.

Where both sides tried to claim me, but I was smart because,

I’d play the flute or play the harp, dependin’ where I was.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

One day, me ma’s relations came round to visit me

Just as my father’s kinfolk were all sittin’ down to tea.

We tried to smooth things over, but they all began to fight.

And, me bein’ strictly neutral, I bashed everyone in sight.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen.

My father, he was Orange and me mother , she was Green.

Now my parents never could agree about my type of school.

My learnin’ was all done at home, that’s why I’m such a fool.

They both passed on, God rest them,

But left me caught between that awful color problem

Of the Orange and the Green.

 

HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY TO ALL!!

 (and especially Mom and Dad – we miss you everyday)

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “A Little Irish Music

  1. Mary Beth

    Great Mayo! Always loved the Orange and Green song. Spent st. Pat’s Day in Virginia visiting Dan and Heather.

  2. Tom Toner

    I love it Mayo!!! A great combination…a little ballad and a little humor.

    Tom

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