“The Wearing of the Green”
Multiple versions of this song, which describes the aftermath of the 1798 rising, date to the very early 1800s. This version of the lyrics is based on the song as performed in Dion Boucicault’s play “Arragh na Pogue, or The Wicklow Wedding” (1864). The tune is a traditional Irish air attributed to the 17th century harper Turlough O’Carolan. This version is performed by the famous 20th century Irish tenor John McCormack.
“The Wind That Shakes the Barley”, Robert Dwyer Joyce (1861)
Joyce, a Limerick-based literary scholar and poet, focuses on the violent English backlash against the 1798 Rising in this work. Oulart Hollow, referenced in the last verse, was the site of a fierce battle with English troops in May 1798 in which noncombatants found themselves caught in the crossfire. The title of the song is referenced in
“The Rising of the Moon”, John Keegan Casey (1865)
Casey, also known as the “Fenian Poet”, wrote a number of patriotic songs in the 1860s while organizing with the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He was arrested during anti-Fenian raids in 1866, escaped custody in 1867, and spent the remainder of his life as a fugitive. A popular Republican song, “The Rising of the Moon” is referenced in the last line of Bobby Sands’s diary of his hunger strike. The tune should sound familiar – it’s the same tune as “The Wearing of the Green”.