A Song or Two for the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

Make it a Day of Celebration and of Paying a Bit of Homage to the Hardships that People of all Races, Colours and Creeds Have Been Through – And to the Love we should Share with and for Each Other

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted March 17th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

As a veteran of quite a few St. Patrick’s Day parades and the wild parties that fill the pubs and pour out onto to the streets after the parades, one of thought that has often occurred to me during the height of it all is this.

Celebarting in the streets of Buffalo, New York on the day of a St. Patrick’s Day parade. File photo by Doug Draper

That kind of partying – as joyous as it so obviously seems – can often be a product of a long history of hardship and persecution.

The last few decades have arguably been relatively good ones for the Irish and for North Americans of Irish descent compared to many decades over the past couple of hundreds of years.

For a 50 or 60-year-old Canadian or American of Irish decent, the Irish Rising (also known as the Irish Rebellion) of April, 1916, is only a few generations in the past, and the potato famine of the mid-1800s which reportedly killed more than a million people through disease and starvation, is only four or five generations in the past.

Stories, along with so many of the hard feelings from those and other nightmare times in the history of the Irish people, have been passed on from generation to generation.

The waters roaring over the great falls of Niagara will be lit up in green this Sunday night, March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day

It may be something worth taking a few moments to think about in the wake of the horrific shootings at Muslim mosques in New Zealand – just the latest atrocity n a world where violent forms of xenophobia and racism appear to be growing.

It may also be something we should think about in a United States with a Donald Trump, who trades in this kind of poison.

And then there is   Canada where this Canadian  now hears many older citizens around me say that in this year’s federal elections, they want to see the re-election of a Conservative Party of Andrew Scheer and Rob Nicholson that, only four short years ago under the leadership of then-prime minister Stephen Harper, played on  the idea of  grouping us between  what party messangers called “old-stock Canadians” and others, and that proposed setting up a snitch line for reporting people who engage in  whatever the federal Tories define as “barbaric cultural practices” to the police.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, here are a couple of songs that two fairly well known English citizens wrote and performed in the 1970s about the hardships of the Irish as they saw them then.

Following a 1971 performance in New York City of his song, “The Luck of the Irish,” John Lennon because a target of a good deal of scorn in his homeland for the use of words like “genocide” and “torture” in the lyrics.

Shortly after Paul McCartney released a single of his song “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” in 1972, it was banned from airplay on the BBC and many other stations in England that had previously celebrated the release of any song written or performed by members of The Beatles.

Here are screen images for the songs, one after the other, that you can click on to hear.

First, John Lennon’s ‘Luck of the Irish’ –

Now “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” which, as far as I know, has never been –re-released on any compilation of songs by Paul McCartney for whatever reason –

Another take from another high-profile figure from Great Britain –

U.S. President Donald Trump, just days ago, saying a few words about the massacre against Muslims in New Zealand before going into another rant about the need for a wall at the Mexican border –

.Here are a few related links on the climate in Canada in recent times –

A CBC story on the federal Tories and their concern over “barbaric cultural practices” – https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-barbaric-cultural-practices-law-1.3254118 .

And this –  https://newrepublic.com/article/145319/canadian-trump

A column on the Irish condition by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/opinion/22dowd.html

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


One response to “A Song or Two for the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Most Liverpudlians like Lennon and McCartney are easily as much Irish as English in descent. Liverpool is closer to Belfast and Dublin than London.


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