Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Four days to go!

Today's song in the run-up to St. Patrick's Day is the The Fields of Athenry. A popular folk song which was only written in the 1970's by Peter St. John.

The song is about a man from Athenry, County Galway who was sentenced to deportation in Australia for stealing food for his starving family. It is set during the Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1850.

The picture in the center of my mast above was taken at Murrisk Abby, close to the Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre where the National Famine Monument is located.

It is an incredible monument.  It depicts a Coffin Ship with skeleton bodies.  The sails on this ship are fashioned like skeletons, representing the misery of the trip to the New World for millions.

In 2001, a sister monument was unveiled outside the United Nations building in New York. However, the New York ship also has two gangplanks with survivors emerging onto land after their trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Fields of Athenry is a widely known and popular anthem for Irish sports supporters. The song was adopted by the Republic of Ireland National Football Team. 

I have a number of versions of this song ranging from traditional, punk to reggae.

Paddy Reilly is the quintessential Irish ballad singer. His rugged voice perfectly reflects the ups and downs of the characters in his vast repertoire of songs, many handed of which down through generations. I have purchased a number of his albums (all imports)  over the years from O'Briens on Water Street.  His best songs, from my perspective are Sam Hall, Star of the County Down, The Emigrants' Letter, Star of the County Down, The Town I loved So Well  and Black Velvet Band.

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