As the ides of March approach, Irish pubs and those of Irish blood rejoice for the feast of St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to provide an excuse to inebriate oneself, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to indulge in corned beef and cabbage and for inexperienced dancers to look stupid as they perform a drunk Irish dance. Irish music has been popularized since the great Irish famine of the 1840s and the genre has been used in many traditional Irish songs as well. Below are 5 songs to get into the St. Patrick’s Day Spirit:
What Shall We do With the Drunken Sailor?: With lyrics such as “drunk” and “weigh heigh”, we can bet our Irish booty that this song is quite strongly reminiscent of St. Patrick’s Day. As the title implies, the song is about sailors enduring a storm at sea and the captain determining what to do with a sailor who is drunk. Their concluding answer is to “put him into bed with the captain’s daughter” and to “shave his belly with a rusty razor”. The somewhat nonsensical lyrics and Irish accent makes for a fitting St. Patrick’s Dy ditty.
The Wild Rover: While the meaning of “Wild Rover” is quite opaque, the song depicts an Irishman who “spent all me money on whiskey and beer” and, to compensate, he plays the “wild rover”. However, he insists he will spend his money “no neigh never no more”. While the lyrics are a bit nonsensical, the chorus is enough to make us chant “no, neigh, never” at the top of our lungs the next time we’re at a pub.
The Black Velvet Band: A band formed in both Australia and Canada wouldn’t seem to excel at St. Patrick’s Day songs but the Dubliners prove us wrong. With references to Belfast as well as the Irish potato famine, the lyrics are suitable for St. Patrick’s Day. The song also includes Irish love with lyrics such as “her eyes shone like diamonds” making the singer think she was “queen of the land”. A rather upbeat folk song and enjoyable to dance along to.
Sailing Over the Dogger Bank: Similar to Drunken Sailor, this song depicts Irishman out at sea with more stormy lyrics such as “Wind a blowin’ east nor east” and “we are the boys to pull ‘er through [the storm]”. The crew uses a sheet to guide their ship to shore and, upon arrival, they celebrate in the most St. Patrick’s Day way possible: “We got right drunk we roll on the floor”. The catchy rhythm along with the accent makes this song another St. Patrick’s Day staple.
Arthur Mc Bride: This song carries a rather historical context as it discusses the Irish joining forces with the British army. Specifically, “a sergent, corporal, and drummer approached me and taught me to dress properly”. The British encourage the singer, Arthur Mc Bride to join their force to reap the benefits. This song is especially fitting for those unfamiliar with world history and geography as it discusses relationships between countries, especially throughout that time.
Listening to Irish songs like these is a great way to take our minds off of the world and indulge ourselves in beer and other Irish beverages for at least one day. Dancing to these songs will certainly put even the most miserable souls into the mood for an Irish jig. May the Luck O The Irish be with everyone and have a blessed (post) St. Patrick’s Day!