Being Irish, contrary to popular belief, is not just an excuse to drink excessively and fight. St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 since that is the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick in the 5th century.
Until the 1970s, Irish law mandated that pubs close on March 17. In 1995, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity for tourism. Close to a million people gathered in Dublin last year for a St. Patricks Day celebration.
In the city of Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green with food coloring on March 17 every year.
One of the myths surrounding St. Patrick’s Day is that it is celebrated because St. Patrick banished snakes from Ireland. Truth is there were never snakes there to begin with. It was a metaphor for the eradication of pagan idealogy from Ireland and the triumph of christianity.
Just remember as you wear your green on St. Patrick’s Day, the day is not an excuse to “git dronk” and make a fool of yourself. If a person is so inclined, one can do that any day of the year. If the “pub crawl” scene is your thing, do us all a favor and get a designated driver, please.
As one whose family name is traced back to County Cavan in the Ulster part of Ireland, here are my top 10 St. Patrick’s Day songs:
Danny Boy/Declan Galbraith
This tune is practically the national song of Ireland, this version sung by a teenage boy with a wonderful voice. Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling, from glen to glen and down the mountain side, the summer’s gone and all the flowers are dying, tis you, tis you must go and I must bide…
The Unicorn Song/The Irish Rovers
This is an Irish folk song that goes way back. Green alligators and long necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees, some cats and rats and elephants, as sure as you’re born, but you’re never gonna see no unicorns…
The Green Green Grass Of Home/Tom Jones
This old country song is the tale of a man speaking of the old house is still standing, tho’ the paint is cracked and dry, and there’s that old oak tree I used to play on, down the lane I walk with my sweet Mary, hair of gold and lips like cherries, it’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Unfortunately, it’s only a dream and the man wakes up in his death row cell on the morning of his scheduled execution. Yes they’ll all come to see me in the shade of that old oak tree, as they lay me ‘neath the green green grass of home. Yes, I know Tom Jones is from Wales, but there is a distinctly Irish tone to the song.
Tim Finnegan’s Wake/Dropkick Murphys
This is an Irish folk song of a “gentle Irishman, mighty odd” named Tim Finnegan. Whack fol the dah now dance with yer partner, round the flure yer trotters shake, bend an ear to the truth they tell ye, we had lots of fun at Finnegan’s wake…
Wild Night/Van Morrison
When you’re walkin’ out on the street and the wind catches your feet, sends you flyin’, cryin’ ooooooh oooh eee, the wild night is callin’. If this isn’t the perfect St. Patricks Day song for what the Holiday has become, what is?
The Boys Are Back In Town/Thin Lizzy
This Irish band hit it big with this song way back in the 70s with lead singer, the late Phil Lynott belting out this St. Patricks Day song. Okay, so the song isn’t especially for St. Paddy’s Day, but how can you not think of March 17 when this song jumps out of your stereo? With the signature twin lead guitars wailing out the tune, “if the boys want to fight, you better let ’em.”
Give Ireland Back To The Irish/Paul McCartney
A rare message from Paul McCartney for a St. Patricks Day song. The song is a message to heavy handed British imperialists to give the people of Ireland their freedom from British oppression. Give Ireland back to the Irish, don’t make them have to take it away, give Ireland back to the Irish, make Ireland Irish today.
Jump Around/House Of Pain
This is an appropriate St. Patricks Day song from an Irish-American hip hop group featuring Everlast. The song hit #6 in the U.S. and #3 in Ireland and has been featured in many movie soundtracks including Mrs. Doubtfire. Amps it are junkin’ and I got more rhymes than there’s cops that are dunkin’, donut shops, sure ’nuff I got props from the kids on the hill plus my Mom and my Pops, Jump around.
Rhythm Of My Heart/Rod Stewart
Yes, I’m aware that Stewart is Scottish. However, with this chorus of: the rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum, with the words I love you rollin’ off my tongue, never will I roam, for I know my place is home, where the ocean meets the sky, I’ll be sailing, how can you not think of Ireland? Where the ocean meets the sky and the whole feel to the song reminds me of St. Patricks Day, making this a St. Patricks Day song.
Dreams/ The Cranberries
The Cranberries were an Irish band peaking in the early 90s with lead vocalist Dolores O’Riordan. There is something especially intriguing about O’Riordan’s vocals. The song doesn’t specifically deal with St. Patrick’s Day, but the whole dream thing and the distinctly Irish tone practically screams St. Patrick’s Day song. Oh my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems, never quite as it seems…
These songs are available for listening or downloading at sites like http://www.last.fm/.