Living Irish History Through Song

Living Irish History Through Song September 8, 2023

What is the difference between reading or watching a video about a particular place, current or historical, as opposed to actually going there and experiencing it first hand?

When visiting Ireland for example, I got  to see not only the famous places, but also the cultural differences between Ireland and the United States. That is something that I could not have really experienced just reading about it in a travel book. I got the privilege of seeing family members I have not seen in a long time, and meeting some too young for me to have met when they were younger, or not yet born. This is also something else I could not have done while just looking at photos in a scrap book. Visiting Ireland makes those pictures come alive. Besides pictures some of the Irish songs I grew up listening to also bring history into a lived experience and not just something I hum along to.

For this reason I thoroughly enjoy Irish folk music, not only because I grew up listening to it, but because the songs tell specific stories, often true stories, which reflect Irish history, culture, life and death. They speak of war and peace, love and hate and history, which comes alive in these songs. One great example of these songs is Limerick in the Rare Old Times. This particular song is about real people and places in Limerick City’s past. The song is a recreation of the song about Dublin called The Rare Ould Times.

It helps one to be Living Irish History Through Song.

The reason I particular like this version of the song is that it reminds me quite obviously of Limerick City where my father was born and lived until he immigrated with his family to the United States in 1960 when he was 10 years old. The short poem and song in the video below speak of places that I have actually been to as well as places my grandparents spoke of. It’s kind of a sad sentimental song and reminds us of how much places change over the years for all sorts of reasons. I will always have a special place in my heart for Limerick City. This song reminds me of that.


Perhaps it is because my father and his family are immigrants or because I see the world as  one large, diverse family that I love interacting and learning from people of other cultures and traditions. It is my true wish that all people will one day get along and love one another in spite of or because of our differences. You might have guessed by what I have just written that I do not believe in large walls to keep people with less hope and opportunity away from a better off country/society. I do not support a monarchy style country or government. I just want the wealthy counties to help find better and safer ways to help others in poorer areas of the world.

It is good to remember that we are all On the One Road along the N-17 and we all have a place to sing in God’s Choir.

I was using the poetic last sentence to introduce some more Irish songs that I love to sing along with my husband. When we vitiated Ireland back in 2018 we actually traveled down the Irish route N-17 while singing the song by the Saw Doctors.

And I also mentioned this song so I’ll share it with you here.

Irish folk music helps bring the people of that country into clear living focus. It brings the stories told through song and catchy melodies into the hearts and minds of people who haven’t traveled to the emerald isle. And for those who have lived and traveled there it brings a lived memory back into the present where it is remembered with either sadness or joy depending on the song sung. I find these songs worth returning to again and again and I encourage you to seek them out and enliven your soul with good Celtic crack (an Irish expression that means lots and lots of fun.) I hope this post will Let the People Sing.

Let the people sing their stories and their songsAnd the music of their native landTheir lullabies and battle cries and songs of hope and joySo join us hand in hand
All across this ancient landThroughout the test of timeIt was music that kept their spirits freeThose songs of yours and of mine

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