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The Wearing of the Green

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The Wearing of the Green

Bodhran

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The Wearing of the Green - Historical Context:

"The Wearing of the Green" is a traditional Irish folksong that dates back to the Irish Rebellion of 1798, when the Irish rose up against the British. At that time, wearing green clothing or shamrocks was considered a rebellious act in and of itself, potentially even punishable by death. The song clearly mocks that policy, and its popularity in its day (and now, even) enforced the color green and the shamrock as important symbols of Irish pride. "The Wearing of the Green" has been recorded by many different groups, and remains a favorite pub sing-along to this day. Several different sets of lyrics have been written, with the best-known set coming from playwright Dion Boucicault, who wrote them for his 1864 play Arragh na Pogue ("The Wicklow Wedding").

"The Wearing of the Green" Lyrics:

Oh, Paddy dear, did you hear the news that's going 'round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground
Saint Patrick's Day no more to keep, his color can't be seen
For there's a bloody law again' the Wearing of the Green.
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand
And he said "How's poor old Ireland and how does she stand?"
"She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they're hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green."

She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they're hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

Then since the color we must wear is England's cruel red
Sure Ireland's sons will never forget the blood that they have shed
You may pull the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod
But 'twill take root and flourish there, though underfoot 'tis trod.
When laws can stop the blades of grass for growing as they grow
And when the leaves in summertime their verdure dare not show
Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen*
But 'til that day, please God, I'll stick to Wearing of the Green.

She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they're hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

But if at last our color should be torn from Ireland's heart
Her sons, with shame and sorrow, from the dear old Isle will part
I've heard a whisper of a land that lies beyond the sea
Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of Freedom's day.
Ah, Erin, must we leave you, driven by a tyrant's hand
Must we seek a mother's blessing from a strange and distant land
Where the cruel cross of England shall never more be seen
And where, please God, we'll live and die, still Wearing of the Green.

She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they're hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

*"Caubeen" is an Irish word for a certain type of hat, similar to a beret.

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Notable Recordings of "Wearing of the Green":

The Wolfe Tones - "Wearing of the Green" (Sample or Purchase Download)
Judy Garland - "Wearing of the Green" (Sample or Purchase Download)
John McCormack - "The Wearing of the Green" (Sample or Purchase Download)

More Irish Rebel Songs:

James Connolly - The Irish Rebel
Boolavogue
The Minstrel Boy
A Nation Once Again

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