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Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland

Muttley 13 May 05 - 05:01 AM
Richard Bridge 13 May 05 - 06:42 AM
belfast 13 May 05 - 06:50 AM
Noreen 13 May 05 - 06:54 AM
MartinRyan 13 May 05 - 07:01 AM
Beer 13 May 05 - 07:03 AM
Fiona 13 May 05 - 07:33 AM
ejsant 13 May 05 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Fullerton 13 May 05 - 08:27 AM
Muttley 13 May 05 - 08:30 AM
MartinRyan 13 May 05 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 May 05 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,statesthetruthasheseesit 13 May 05 - 11:24 AM
MartinRyan 13 May 05 - 11:50 AM
mg 13 May 05 - 12:39 PM
Beer 13 May 05 - 01:03 PM
Herga Kitty 13 May 05 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 13 May 05 - 07:52 PM
Peace 13 May 05 - 07:58 PM
GEST 13 May 05 - 08:23 PM
Muttley 13 May 05 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,Paranoid Android 13 May 05 - 08:52 PM
Peace 13 May 05 - 09:07 PM
John O'L 13 May 05 - 09:21 PM
GUEST 13 May 05 - 10:17 PM
Kaleea 13 May 05 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,DannyC 14 May 05 - 12:22 AM
GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit 14 May 05 - 07:33 AM
GUEST 14 May 05 - 08:52 AM
Muttley 15 May 05 - 01:57 AM
Susanne (skw) 15 May 05 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit 15 May 05 - 07:45 PM
GUEST 15 May 05 - 07:57 PM
Big Mick 15 May 05 - 09:02 PM
Muttley 16 May 05 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit 16 May 05 - 01:11 PM
Grab 16 May 05 - 02:08 PM
Mick O'Farrell 16 May 05 - 06:52 PM
belfast 16 May 05 - 07:16 PM
GUEST 17 May 05 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 17 May 05 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 17 May 05 - 08:07 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 May 05 - 09:18 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 May 05 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Allen 17 May 05 - 11:17 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 May 05 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Allen 17 May 05 - 12:50 PM
belfast 17 May 05 - 12:56 PM
Keith A of Hertford 17 May 05 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Allen 17 May 05 - 03:42 PM
Keith A of Hertford 17 May 05 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Allen 17 May 05 - 05:54 PM
GUEST,David Ingerson 17 May 05 - 06:46 PM
Beer 17 May 05 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,Dav 18 May 05 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,David Ingerson 18 May 05 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Irish Mark 18 May 05 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Dave'sWife at work 18 May 05 - 11:55 PM
Dave'sWife 19 May 05 - 02:51 AM
ard mhacha 19 May 05 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 19 May 05 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Allen 19 May 05 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Irish Mark 19 May 05 - 04:14 AM
Muttley 19 May 05 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,JTT 19 May 05 - 06:06 AM
Big Mick 19 May 05 - 07:00 AM
alison 19 May 05 - 08:52 AM
Keith A of Hertford 19 May 05 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,JTT 19 May 05 - 09:47 AM
Grab 19 May 05 - 10:01 AM
Keith A of Hertford 19 May 05 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Statesthethetruthasheseesit 19 May 05 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 20 May 05 - 04:07 AM
Muttley 20 May 05 - 04:14 AM
Wolfgang 20 May 05 - 04:42 AM
Wolfgang 20 May 05 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Allen 20 May 05 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit 20 May 05 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 20 May 05 - 09:44 AM
ejsant 21 May 05 - 07:53 AM
ElwynnMaxon 21 May 05 - 12:31 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 05 - 11:27 AM
dick greenhaus 02 Nov 05 - 10:03 PM
Teribus 03 Nov 05 - 01:51 AM
Liam's Brother 03 Nov 05 - 08:12 AM
Tam the man 03 Nov 05 - 08:55 AM
Big Mick 03 Nov 05 - 09:01 AM
Dave Wynn 03 Nov 05 - 12:24 PM
Beer 03 Nov 05 - 04:56 PM
Big Mick 03 Nov 05 - 06:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 05 - 07:14 PM
leftydee 03 Nov 05 - 10:29 PM
Rutger 04 Nov 05 - 09:08 AM
Dave Wynn 04 Nov 05 - 11:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Nov 05 - 11:49 AM
Big Mick 04 Nov 05 - 11:49 AM
Dave Wynn 04 Nov 05 - 12:20 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Nov 05 - 01:21 PM
Keith A of Hertford 04 Nov 05 - 01:25 PM
keberoxu 25 Nov 15 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Louise Kitt 05 Jan 17 - 09:00 PM
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Subject: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 13 May 05 - 05:01 AM

Are there any songs which deal with the hardships, times an/or consequences of the Potato Famine

Just wondering, given the historic significance of the Great Famine of the 1850's in Ireland as a result of the Potato Blight - it was certainly a major factor in the numbers of migrants who fled both willingly and unwillingly to Australia and America in those times as well as accounting for horrendous loss of life in Ireland itself and numbers of convicts sent to Australia (albeit towards the end of Transportation).

I am curious as I am a "child of the Famine" so to speak as my 3 (or maybe 4) times great Grandmother was transported as a 12 year old from Ireland during the Famine. She had been a serving girl in a British Officers Mess (I think outside Dublin) and was instructed to give the food scraps/leftovers to the pigs. However seeing as the pigs were already fat and ready for the knife and that her family was starving - she took the scraps home and fed her family and gave the pigs their regular slops instead. For this she was arrested, charged with theft and sentenced to 5 years transportation.

Anyway - if anyone has anything I'd love to hear about it - chords and or tunes would be good too - some may be simply-chorded enough for me to be able to do.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 May 05 - 06:42 AM

"The praties they were small" would be an obvious candidate, but I don't have either the word or the chords and have only heard it a couple of times.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: belfast
Date: 13 May 05 - 06:50 AM

"Praties" is in the digitrad as "The Famine Song". Apart from that there are not many songs from the 19th century on the subject. There was a silence, as if the victims somehow felt guilty for the crime that was inflicted upon them. I know that some songs have been written more recently.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Noreen
Date: 13 May 05 - 06:54 AM

Earlier thread:

Irish Potato Famine


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 May 05 - 07:01 AM

Frank Harte, one of Ireland's finest tradiitional singers, released a CD last year of songs connected (loosely or otherwise) with the Great Famine. Being Frank, you get, along with the words of the songs, lots of background material.

I'm sure Camsco has copies!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Beer
Date: 13 May 05 - 07:03 AM

There is one that comes to mind and I guess you could say by the results of the consequences at that time. A song called "Far From Their Home" by Brendan Nolan. Brendan was born near Dublin and moved to Canada in the late 70's. He now resides in the Tampa Bay area of Flordia. Brendan write most of his material and I have never heard such a tear jerker of a song. I'm sure if you just typed in his name a site would come up with something. Then if you can, buy his tapes/c/d's, you will not be sorry. A truly anazing artist.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Fiona
Date: 13 May 05 - 07:33 AM

I think Skibbereen, is one of the most poignant songs on this subject. It's in the DT.

Fiona


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: ejsant
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:08 AM

Greetings,

I second the opinion about Brendan Nolan, he is a fabulous singer songwriter, performer, and human being, and yes "Far From Their Home" is a brilliant song filled with strong emotion. I believe I have his entire discography and I am not in any way disappointed with any track.

I would think that any song from the middle period of the nineteenth century that spoke of the hardships endured by the Irish could in a round about way be connected to the Famine even if no direct reference to hunger or the blight is present in the song. It seems to me that it wasn't just the failure of the crops but also the way that the starving were treated that encompasses the whole Famine experience. After all if there was no social oppression of the Irish and adequate food was made available from outside Ireland it would not have been such an atrocity.

After a cursory review some songs that turn up in "Irish Emigrant – Ballads and Songs" are;

Amhran Na Braptai Dubha – The Song Of the Black Potatoes
The Blighted Potates
A New Song of the Rotten Potatoes

I am sure with greater effort there are others to be found, some of which have already been mentioned.

Peace,
Ed


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Fullerton
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:27 AM

Christy Moore (I think) used to do a song which consisted of a ships manifest listing food that was being exported to England during the famine.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:30 AM

I just checked out the link to the other "Famine" thread and Lord! I hope I haven't re-opened THAT can of worms!
What a load of political/etymological bullsh*t.

I am NOT resurrecting that thread here. Bottom line the famine occurred. There were MANY factors - the primary one being the failure over years of the potato crops due to blight which created fatal shortages in the staple food of the farming / rural / worker classes exascerbated by other political factors.

DON'T CARE about what you want to call that (it's NOT a famine because. . . . . frogsh*t!) - the reality is the population of Ireland HALVED in those years and reports of bodies lying by the side of the road in their dozens between villages where people walking from one place to another to find work / sustenance died "in their tracks" are too numerous and credible to be ignored or split hairs over here in the comfort of the 21st Century.

Let's just acknowledge that due to circumstance, oppression, carelessness (not on the part of those who suffered and died), and politics TOO MANY FOLK PERISHED.

On that note a big thankyou to those who responded - you have set my feet on a desired path.

Mutt


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:34 AM

Here's a Review of Freank Harte's CD called "The Hungry Voice.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 May 05 - 10:20 AM

From what I have read, the emigrants didn't even talk about the famine.   

My own family doesn't know a thing about its Irish ancestors. The old country was never discussed.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,statesthetruthasheseesit
Date: 13 May 05 - 11:24 AM

Muttley. There are probably loads of songs newly written about the Famine that happened in the 1840s!!!! The Irish love wallowing in self pity about ancient wrongs.(Grandmother 4 or 5 times removed , indeed!) No-one is denying the Great Famine happened - chill out, hey- and no-one is denying who was responsible. I will only say that all living Irishmen, and those of the 20th Century, have got off pretty lightly compaired to other people who have suffered greatly in that most violent of centuries. Even the English have suffered more than the Irish. Think of the bombing of London, Coventry, and Liverpool during World War II, which Ireland escaped completly - and yet you do not hear English songwriters writing about those experiances, even though there are people alive who remember them. There have been plenty of famines in the 20th century, but not in Ireland, and yet the Irish talk about famine as if it is an exclusively Irish affair, when really there is no Irishman alive who has experienced it and therefore has no idea what it is like. Ireland had a war of independence followed by a civil war which left most of the people untouched. Compare that with the civil war in Spain or Yugoslavia, which resulted in the countries being torn apart and great suffering being inflicted on their people. Even the problems in Northern Ireland are nothing in comparison with Ruwanda ('scuse spelling) or Yugoslavia. Ireland has never known Fascist or Communist dictatorship -or invasion.Has never known enthnic cleansing. Has never had death camps or a gestapo police force.

Muttley - get some perspetive.In other words, Shut the f**k up. We are fed up with your maudlin self pity and self righteous clap trap.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 May 05 - 11:50 AM

GUEST

Calm down! Just because the Irish didn't have Robin Hood doesn't mean they can't have myths!

Not surprisingly, there are few contemporaneous songs about the famine. To expect songs written later to do other than reflect the folk memory is foolish. Uncritical condemnation of the "oppressor" is no different from the uncritical condemnation of the "bosses" in agitprop left-wing songs or of immigrants in the song discussed in the "BNP song" discussed in another thread.

If you want historical truth (or at least an attempt at it), study history. If you want emotional truth (warts and all) - listen to the songs.

Regards

Regards


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: mg
Date: 13 May 05 - 12:39 PM

There is Dan O'Hara who sells matches. David Maloney\, of Reilly and Maloney fame\, has a one man play or operetta or whatever about it and will be doing it again at Seattle Folklife in a few weeks.

All I know of my famine relatives is that my greatgrandmother came over at the age of 7 and was the only one who survived. She never heard from any family again. Well\, I don't know that none survived\, but it is unlikely. We always thought the Garvey faction were here before the famine for some reason..history is unclear because my father's father died when he was 7 of the Spanish flu..GGM was a servant to the Taft family (how she managed at the age of 7 no one knows..but one wanted to marry her and she married a railroad man instead)...but my brother discovered that four Garvey brothers came from Dingle during the famine...they did not want to talk and we did not frankly want to listen...it was all too horrifying...but when I went back to Ireland maybe 30 years ago now I met an old\, old woman in black on a country road and she said did your family leave during the famine and I said yes..and she said welcome home.. mg


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Beer
Date: 13 May 05 - 01:03 PM

Mary,
Your ending to your thread I'm sure you will never forget.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 13 May 05 - 01:17 PM

Penni McLaren Walker wrote "The Cottiers" about Irish tenant farmers dispossessed during the potato famine, because she thought it iniquitous that the British Government gave so much money towards the Union cause in the American Civil War and so little to the needy in Ireland.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 05 - 07:52 PM

http://www.geocities.com/willboyne/nosurrender/Songs.html?200514


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Peace
Date: 13 May 05 - 07:58 PM

Here is Nolan's excellent song:



http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:TLdim1ZS6vUJ:www.brendannolan.com/lyrics/farfrom.html+Far+From+Their+Home,+lyrics&hl=en


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GEST
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:23 PM

From GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador:

The Leaving
Give Me Three Grains Of Corn
My Green Valleys
Fields Of Athenry


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:51 PM

Sounds like "Statesthetruthasheseesit" needs to get a little perspective herself.
For a start, I will not "shut the f*ck up" as you so eloquently put it and I have plenty of perspective. I am not denying the horror of the Spanish or Jugoslavian (correct spelling for that outdated, Nazi-created country) civil wars - however, why not mention the various English civil wars, the French Revolution (a civil war), the Russian Revolution (another civil war) or even the American Civil War and get completely off the track!!!

Sounds more to me that there is some residual guilt and/or discrimination towards the Irish in your soul.

As for the bombing of London / Coventry / Liverpool they were the result of a war - NOT political and oppressive regime control of a subservient nation. And if you are going to quote those bombings, why not quote the "Unappeasing of Munich" where greater than 60% of the city was leveled or worse still - Dresden which suffered the equivalent of over two thousand Coventry's - where the loss of life after one night of bombing and the resulting firestorm cost the lives of many thousands non-combatants. To quote one of my many World war 2 histories - specifically regards the bombing of British and German cities ("Secrets & Stories of the War" Vol. II) If the (quote) "combined damaged areas of London, Coventry and Bristol (as the major targets) - and then add in all the destruction from other blitzed cities were collected into one place and and then dumped in the ruins of Munich - they would barely be noticed."
According to 'weight of bombs dropped' and 'area of damage resultant' and using Coventry (which WAS the most destroyed British city during WW2) - then Berlin suffered the equivalent of 363 Coventry's, Cologne 269, Hamburg 200 and Bremen 137 Coventry's - so get a little of your own perspective.

Thus taking totally unassociated examples and throwing them at someone needlessly only makes you look stupid (and I rather suspect you probably don't need much of that anyway) - I quote your parting words:

"Ireland has never known Fascist or Communist dictatorship -or invasion."

WRONG: It has suffered English dictatorship - or what would you call the edict that forbade "The Wearing of the Green" for which anyone: man, woman or child could be hanged. Where the native tongue and traditional songs were banned on pain of death (as were the tartan, the pipes and Gaelic in Scotland - is that not a dictatorship? And as for invasion - what WOULD you call Cromwells armies pouring into Ireland and wresting the place from its rightful owners at the point of a sword, gun and bayonet? Sounds like invasion to me.

"Has never known enthnic cleansing. Has never had death camps or a gestapo police force."

True it did not have these 'as such' BUT it did have a 'covert police force' rounding up 'subversives' who wanted to return Irish rule to Ireland. Many of those taken into custody were executed or deported (Transported) offered migration as an option to living in Ireland (or stay and be hanged or remain in prison). True it was not Nazi in scope but IT DID HAPPEN.

As for my maudlin self pity and self-righteous claptrap: There was none of that. I simply stated my ancestry as a reason for wanting to access certain songs - if that is confronting to you then you have SERIOUS problems. Quite frankly you strike me as someone who's mouth volume capacity grossly exceeds their cerebral capacity and is not afraid to prove it. Better you heeded the old warning and "Kept your mouth closed and allowed people to THINK you were stupid than open it and remove all doubt!"

As for getting the history right - I suggest next time you open fire on a member (remember you ARE a guest) that you pick on one who does NOT hold a Masters Degree in History - specifically European and Ancient History!!!!!

Now as you have hit rock bottom on the intelligence scale - I suggest you stop digging: Or must I flush again to make you go away?

Have a wonderfully blissful day (I shouldn't need to explain that last comment - most will get it but it will probably go over you head!)

BTW - I am of Irish DESCENT - I'm not Irish (actually I am of mixed Irish, English German, but predominantly Scottish desecent) So I can be unbiased on ALL counts.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Paranoid Android
Date: 13 May 05 - 08:52 PM

Did anyone mention "Kilkelly"?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Peace
Date: 13 May 05 - 09:07 PM

To add to Muttley's words, not only did one million Irish starve to death, but the famine caused another million to emigrate. The country lost 40% of its people in those five years. My background is Scottish, English and Irish--with probably a bit of German in there.

Bruce Murdoch


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: John O'L
Date: 13 May 05 - 09:21 PM

I shouldn't but I will -

Through each of the famine years Ireland was a net exporter of beef, mutton, dairy and grain.

I was going to mention "Kilkelly" too, but I couldn't remember the name.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 05 - 10:17 PM

The Mother's Kiss


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Kaleea
Date: 13 May 05 - 11:59 PM

I recall my grandparents talking about when they were quite young living in Arkansas, & some relatives came over from Ireland. They sang several ballads, including "The Praties They Grow Small" which my Grandad taught me. That one & some of the other real sad ones were always done unaccompanied. I suppose that adds to the desolate feel of the song.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,DannyC
Date: 14 May 05 - 12:22 AM

Here's a link to an interactive database that queries transportation/penal records for an extended period in Ireland      (including the 1840s).   While many insert surnames for their search, you might also query the Db using common words like "oatmeal" or "bread". The myth elements lift as the screen scrolls the names and the places of the mothers and sons. Apparantly the ruling class kept excellent records:

http://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/transportation/transp1.htm


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit
Date: 14 May 05 - 07:33 AM

Muttley. Thank you for backing up my argument. I am very grateful. Yes, you are right. The Germans suffered greatly in both wars in a way that the Irish have not. However, you are a little unfair towards the British. They suffered their cities to be bombed, their young to be slaughtered, and for their empire to be lost, in order that they could liberate the death camps and dismantle the Nazi state- surely the most brutal political system in history. The Irish State stayed on the sidelines and did nothing. I am not being critical, just stating the facts - and the loss of the empire may very well have been no bad thing: This I do not contend. [it does seem to me though that the British empire has been replaced by the American Empire- but that is for another posting.]

While all these events unfurled during the 20th Century, Ireland went into it's deep sleep and let the world pass it by. I can't say I blame them. However, after standing on the sidelines for a century, the Irish cannot then moan about how they have suffered. I can just picture Irish folksingers in the 40s bemoaning their lot while Jews were being slaughtered and Dresdon and Coventry were being flattened.

The point I am making Muttley is about living Irishman. I know how bad the English behaved in Ireland. This I do not question; but that was in the 19th Century. The 20th Century has been a piece of cake for the average Irishman. Even the troubles in Northern Ireland could be a lot worse than they have been, although, ofcourse, noone can be happy with the situation there.

In the past, The English did not behave well in Ireland. It was treated like a colony. Again, with this I do not argue. But a dictatorship? The Irish had the same democratic rights as everyone else in Britain. Irishman were bundled off to Australia for political activities, but so were the English -ever heard of the Tolpuddle Martyrs? This was pretty typical everywhere in the 19th Century.

I have nothing against the Irish singing about their past, but to let the past become confused with the present shows a curious mindset.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 05 - 08:52 AM

While all these events unfurled during the 20th Century, Ireland went into it's deep sleep and let the world pass it by. I can't say I blame them. However, after standing on the sidelines for a century, the Irish cannot then moan about how they have suffered. I can just picture Irish folksingers in the 40s bemoaning their lot while Jews were being slaughtered and Dresdon and Coventry were being flattened.

Perhaps you should find the time to research your version of the truth. Approx 210,000 Irish volunteers fought in the First World War and a further 100,000 in the Second World War. Those numbers are for men who took up the fight. And the many, many Irish women who served as nurses in field hospitals have also been aknowledged.

But your attitude shows us clearly why you are thankfully on your way home.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:57 AM

The Irish had the same democratic rights as everyone else in Britain. Irishman were bundled off to Australia for political activities,

The Irish did NOT have any democratic rights from the mid 1600's when Cromwell invaded until 1930-ish when they won their independence (at the cost of thousands of lives lost and tens of thousands Transported - the GHreat Hunger death toll excluded)

The song :"The Wearing of the Green" was written to tell the world of the law passed in Ireland (around the time of Culloden in Scotland) which forbade the wearing anything green as a display of "Irishism" - the perpetrators were immediately gaoled and transported for the offence unless they or their family was known to the British Authorities, in which case; man, woman OR child - they were summarily executed - - - - without benefit of a trial.

Add to this the "Liberation of the death camps" Britain knew of Auschwitz before the war began and did nothing about it. The death camps were, in fact, liberated (approximately 95% of them, anyway) by the US and Russian forces - NOT the Brits.

Germany did not suffer during WW1 - their soldiers did at the front - but at home things were quite 'normal' - as they were in Britain. Germany did not actually suffer until AFTER the war in the ridiculous economic and political sanctions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles by the French and the British - a position the US President (?Wilson) fought to water down due to consequences he could see - the sanctions were designed to destroy Germany and fragment it and cripple it to the point that it would NEVER be in a position to threaten France or Britain again (apparently the Frogs deigned not to acknowledge that THEY had done the same thing the previous century under Napoleon without sanction)- the direct result of those sanctions was WW2 - which happened as it did because the Germans realised they had to cripple France & Britain to have any chance.

Finally - to the bombing again - BRITAIN was the first nation to bomb a city full of civilians when a bomber stream went off course early in WW2 and bombed Berlin. The Blitz was, in fact a retaliation for that action. Previously the Germans had confined their raids to military installations, radar installations and airfields.

I suggest you actually READ history instead of rendering your own anglophilic version of it. Nobody was mentioning MODERN Ireland. No-one - not even the Irish are saying the 20th Century was a time of oppression - they recall it as the century of LIBeration.

We were talking the whole time about 19th Century Ireland and the disastrous famine.

Your turnabout is puzzling - in one post you attack with profanity and belittlement and in the next you agree but push an outdated "Empire" barrow no-one (least of all a Scots-fathered, Irish convict-descended Australian) wants to hear about.

Hope this puts it all to bed.

Frankly, I'm not interested in warped and misrepresented WW2 history - especially as I am a WW2 scholar (among other things)

You ARE English, are you not?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 May 05 - 06:10 PM

Muttley, may I suggest you, too, do a little more reading of history?
Just two points:

Auschwitz didn't exist before WW2. Concentration camps did exist, but not the extermination camps in Eastern Europe. They weren't built till 1942, after the Wannsee Conference where the 'final solution' was first put to a wider circle of Nazi leaders.

Germany did suffer in WW1. The winter of 1917 is still known as the 'turnip winter' because in urban areas many people had little else to eat and many were starving. My grandparents remembered that time quite well.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit
Date: 15 May 05 - 07:45 PM

Muttley the scholar, I do not have time to take on all your points. Life is short and you keep spinning off at unexpected angles -it is difficult to keep up. The way your argument keeps shifting from one subject to another makes me think you are deliberately trying to muddy the water. However, for the record, Bute and Parnell were elected to Parliament in London and I am sure the shithothistorian in you knows who they were.

I know that many Irishmen fought against the Nazis. I never they said they didn't. All brave men. I said that the Irish State did nothing. Ireland did not put its country on a total war footing in the way that Britain did, it did not send waves of its youth into battle nor put its cities in line for bombing. Britain did. I don't know if Britain actually went into the death camps and liberated them - I shall trust the historian and scholar in you that you are right - but we fought the war that did liberate them. Shall I remind you of the telegram DeValera sent to Germany commmiserating Hitler's death with not a hint of irony?

I agree with you about The Treaty of Versailles, but Lloyd George only went along with the French in a show of solidarity. He privately disagreed with it and the young Keynes thought it would be disasterous, which it proved to be. However, Lloyd George knew that the French were bitter because most of the war had taken place on their soil and he knew they would not shift on this.

I would like to take up your point about Germany realising that they had to cripple France and Britain before they had a chance. Since you are talking total twaddle, it is difficult to know where to start. I mean: What are you talking about? Hitler wanted Britain to stay out of the war. He wanted to go East. Britain, however, remained determined to defeat him, whatever the cost-which proved to be high.

However, to go back to my original argument, which you have taken by the scruff of the nect and dragged it all manners of unrelated places, I said that "all living Irishmen, and those of the 20th Century, have got off pretty lightly compaired to other people who have suffered greatly in that most violent of centuries." Nothing you have said makes me change my mind about that.   

You say that you are a "Scots-fathered, Irish convict-descended Australian." What happened to your English and German heritage that you mentioned earlier? As a historian, you must know that Australia was made in Britain's image and is the sole reason that Australia is so successful today, with democratic rights and a good standard of living. You should be a bit more kinder to us. You owe us so much. By the way, I was born in England of English/Scottish parents but with a Welsh surname - a true Brit in short, and damned proud of it.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 05 - 07:57 PM

Some say the devil is dead
The devil is dead
The devil is dead
Some say the devil is dead and buried in Killarney
More say he rose again
More say he rose again
More say he rose again
And joined the british army.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Mick
Date: 15 May 05 - 09:02 PM

I find it completely understandable that one who consistently takes the English patriotic view would look at this from the perspective that statesthetruthassheseesit does. Of course you wouldn't recognize the suffering of the Irish people. Of course you wouldn't understand why some Irish would be hesitant to fight on the side of the English, regardless the foe. Of course you wouldn't understand the bitterness of those who did in the first war only to come home to broken promises. Your frame of reference doesn't allow you to understand these things.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 16 May 05 - 12:38 AM

Sorry SUZANNE: You are right. RE Auschwitz _ OOPS !! you're quite right. Slight case of brain-fade there. And I'm damned if I can remember the name(s) of the concentration camps that DID exist prior tpo the start of the war (from about 1935 onward if my memory serves me aright this time)
The Turnip winter is also recorded fact - the point i was trying to make (in as short a time and space as possible and as simply as "truthasheseesit's" tiny mind would allow) What I should have elaborated was the civil destruction which accompanied WW2 with bombings etc did not occur in WW1: certainly food shortages occurred as they did in other war-affected nations but the level of destruction / internal-refugee-creation / non-combatant peril was absent.

However to get back to "truthasheseesit's" pathetic points:
1. Lloyd George did NOTHING to ameliorate the French revenge-motive and is thus as guilty. The US President can be forgiven in that he voiced objection AT THE TABLE via representatives and was discounted because "America only helped to finish the war not fight it" - a George-cedited statement BTW.

2. Yes, Hitler DID want Britain to stay out of the war and had his eyes turned eastward; but his plans included England and he drew them up PRIOR to the invasion of Poland as he was fully aware that Britain and France would declare war on him if he persisted with the invasion to recover the Danzig corridor (and the rest of Poland). In fact several histories: including those by Ronald Heifferman and Dr. J. Fredriksen acknowledge that this was what Hitler desired - that Britain and France would be the ones DECLARING war; thus making THEM the aggressors and not him. Thgus Hitler could then invade both as a matter of securing his rear (Western) flank against invasion - simply put, he was then given tacit leave to invade them as a matter of "self-defence". A spurious reason, but in the strictest legality, a correct one !!!!
The end result was he did just that and took a totally new and unfamiliar battle-style with him and achieved in 6 weeks what four years of bloodshed had failed to do two-and-a-half decades earlier.
His biggest mistake then was to attempt to knock out the RAF before invading England, when he SHOULD have simply followed the Dunkirk 'refugees' back across the Channel.

3. "Truth" wrote: "Australia was made in Britain's image and is the sole reason that Australia is so successful today, with democratic rights and a good standard of living. You should be a bit more kinder to us. You owe us so much."

What a crock of bullsh*t! Australia was NOT made in Britain's image. It was created as a desperate bid to get rid of your criminal, social and political undesirables after you got your arses kicked out of America for bloody high-handedness. The British treated the convicts as animals and no better and never intended for Australia to anything more than an 'ocean-encircled, wall-less gaol'.

The reason Australia is so successful today is NOT because of Britain - it is because of Australians and their desire to BE Australian and not British. Certainly, our parliamentary and judicial system owes its form and stability to the British model but that is only because it is what we inherited and it seems to work well enough within its limitations.
As an Australian, I have NO desire to be kinder to you - you dumped our ancestors here to "sink or swim" - out of sight out of mind -, You have dragged us into one conflict after another requiring our lives and blood and then your leaders turn around and refuse to let our men return from Africa to defend Australia against possible invasion with the words to the Australian PM - "Australia is unimportant at this stage; the mother country is where our defences should lie. Australia will be returned to us after we have defeated the axis powers in Europe and then ther Pacific"!
Your government, after treating us as nothing more than a nation of servants for 150 years was then willing to sacrifice its entire population. So don't give me "You owe us" - we owe you bugger all.

As for my German and English heritage; I am neither ashamed or ignorant of them. They were not pertinent to the point I was making -another point that went straight past your small-minded parochial mind-set. BTW - my English heritage would scorn and abuse you for that comment about "owing you" - they would be disgusted. Fortunately (and I converse regularly and freely with agreat many English friends and family who would agree with me here) I am aware that your tiny-minded outlook is very much a minority opinion.

Now forgive me if I ignore you from this point on - I have broken my own prime rule "Never argue with an idiot - he will simply drag you down to his level and beat you with experience (and the people watching on may not know the difference)" - So from here on I am not ignoring or being rude to you - you are simply too insignificant to be bothered with.
M


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit
Date: 16 May 05 - 01:11 PM

Big Mick, you are a bigger idiot than Muttley, and that is saying something. I never said any of the things you credit me with. Go back, read my postings and if your limited intelligence can take it all in-THEN POST AND NOT BEFORE. Christalmighty, I have my work cut out here.

Oh Muttley, I shall reply soon. Thank you for allowing me the last word. I hope you have found the songs you were looking for and that I have cleared up any misconceptions you had.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Grab
Date: 16 May 05 - 02:08 PM

To get away from the WWII angle...

There definitely was a famine in Ireland amongst the farming communities. There also was a similar famine in England amongst the farming communities, bcos the English working classes were supporting themselves the same way the Irish did. "Adequate food from outside" just wasn't coming to either. The rich cash crops fed the rich in both countries. So condemn the English aristocracy if you like, but please don't condemn *England* as a whole. And whilst many landowners in Ireland were English, there were plenty of Irish ones who took the English aristocratic line - ergo, the problem is the bastards at the top, of any nationality, not the *country*. Please don't confuse the two.

The English poor had cities that they could move to, either to work in industry (which was just starting at the time), to work in associated trades, or to resort to theft and criminal activity. The Irish had no such cities. However the Irish did have *English* cities to move to, and many of them did - Liverpool was a particular hotspot. So this really isn't a big difference. Had the Industrial Revolution not just been gathering pace, both England and Ireland would have lost many more people.

The main difference though: the English farmers tended to pass their whole farm onto the first-born, whereas Irish farmers partitioned the land between all their sons. By the time of the famine, Irish farms tended to be so small that survival in *good* times was a challenge. Any kind of crop failure would have caused a famine - the Irish simply got unlucky in terms of magnitude. Although even then note that it's nothing like the magnitude of famines before and since, particularly modern-day famines in Africa. The tragedy is that it does keep happening.

Also don't forget that English farms of the time had had improvements in productivity through the Agricultural Revolution. This involved the English aristocracy dispossessing many English farmers of their land (and common land), and roughly the same results (dead bodies on highways, and people moved into industrial cities) as the Potato Famine. And their eviction was 100% political rather than the result of bad luck and poverty.

To my mind, the best songs of the Famine are those that are universal - the pain of being forced to move on, or of those you love being forced to move on. My favourite is one I heard not long ago, called "The Sky Road". Can't remember who sung it. I have no time for the interminable reinventions of history that paint it black and white and say "The Irish starved while the bastard English stuffed themselves and laughed" - sod that.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Mick O'Farrell
Date: 16 May 05 - 06:52 PM

I always loved Shane MacGowan's 'Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go',from the Pogues first album. I believe he also wrote a song called 'The Dunes' on the same topic, which was covered by Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: belfast
Date: 16 May 05 - 07:16 PM

"Remember Dubh Loch" is a superb song was written by John Tunney, son of the late Paddy Tunney. I first heard it sung by Manus O'Riordan. I can't remember where but I can remember the emotional intensity of the song. You can find it here:- Remember Dubh Loch


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 05 - 12:39 AM

Go ahead, oh wonderful patriotic Englishperson. Once again you show your arrogance. I stand by the contention. Your responses in this and other threads are grounded in your prejudices and your upbringing. This is why you make idiotic statements such as the comments about the Irish State. Perhaps you think that they should have rose up against the French a little over a hundred years earlier? The simple fact is that the Irish State, within the context of the times, had very little reason to help the merry old English. They had no reason to see the German State as the murderers we later found them to be. They only knew that they were fighting against the country that had oppressed them for centuries.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 17 May 05 - 06:55 AM

The problem with racism is that those who enjoy (I use the word advisedly) it, will never recognise it - except in others.

Regards
p.s.

Belfast. I didn't know John had written that song. Not doubting you at all but - are you sure?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 17 May 05 - 08:07 AM

Jeez! I'm in a grumpy, not to say vatic mood this morning. Ignore my last posting.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 May 05 - 09:18 AM

Muttley,
Australia was not created to be rid of our criminals. The previous practice of execution did that.
They were sent there as a labour force.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 May 05 - 09:57 AM

Muttley , as a "scholar" of WW2 you will know that Belsen was liberated by UK forces. That on it's own would be rather more than 5% of the death camps.
Anyway, it was just chance which army liberated camps. If you are really saying that Britain did not play its part in the liberation, we will need to talk further.
I am also surprised that you think Britain was the first to bomb a city full of civillians. Heard of Guernica? British cities were probably the first to be so bombed, by Zeppelins in WW1


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 17 May 05 - 11:17 AM

Umm, no, most criminals were not executed, they were transported, first to the Caribbs (yes I agree that was on grounds of labour) or the Americas, and later Australia.
Transportation was very much an out of sight out of mind thing.
I suggest reading "The Fatal Shore" and listening to the "Transports".

Sadly, nobody did much to stop the death camps in WW2, so please don't start arguments on my guys were better than your guys.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 May 05 - 12:24 PM

Most criminals were not executed?
Before transportation that was the usual punishment for most crime other than debt.

Bombing the death camps was considered and rejected. They were too hard a target to hit. A part of the Belsen complex was hit accidently, and the Germans repaired it within days.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 17 May 05 - 12:50 PM

I just really do not like it when people try to say look how great we are, we liberated concentration camps.

Anyway, I'm not denying they did exexcutions, but it's silly to say that transportation was not a way to get rid of criminals.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: belfast
Date: 17 May 05 - 12:56 PM

Concerning the authorship of the song "Remember Dubh Loch". I am 90% certain that it was written by John Tunney. I'm fairly sure that I was told this by Manus O'Riordan when I asked him about the song.

I would not be the first time that I've been wrong.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 May 05 - 02:40 PM

Allen,
We also welcomed nearly 50 000 Jewish refugees from Germany before war broke out,
We also stood alone against Hitler.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 17 May 05 - 03:42 PM

Look, I'm not trying to blame people or point fingers, but please do not try to take credit where none's to be taken.
Last I'll say on this, it's way too OT and pretty pointless.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 May 05 - 05:49 PM

Can Britain and the Commonwealth not take a little credit for the massive sacrifice our people made in those years Allen?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 17 May 05 - 05:54 PM

Did I anywhere say you couldn't?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,David Ingerson
Date: 17 May 05 - 06:46 PM

I have seen two sources that give John credit for writing Remember Dubh Loch. One is the website indicated in a post above. The other is the audio tape "A Bar of a Song" in which John sings it himself.

What a powerful song.

David


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Beer
Date: 17 May 05 - 09:24 PM

I was around the 6th person to reply to this thread and I have been following it with sadness. I replied because I love music and thought I could contribute to something to the question being asked. But little has been said that rellates to the original thread question. In fact about 90% of all replies belong at the bottom where politics belong.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Dav
Date: 18 May 05 - 04:50 PM


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,David Ingerson
Date: 18 May 05 - 04:54 PM

Oops!

There is a complication with the title of John Tunney's song. It's been listed here in a combination of English and Irish: "Remember Dubh Loch". On "A Bar of a Song" it is listed all in English: "Remember Doolough". That might help in searches for it.

David


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Irish Mark
Date: 18 May 05 - 05:01 PM

Ignoring most of what's above, there aren't many songs that address the famine directly, particularly not from the time. Skibereen is a useful pointer on the general position of the Irish farmer, but not too famine specific. While it mentions blight, it's more concerened with land tenure and eviction than starving.

The fields of athenry is one of the most specific, referencing Trevelyan by name.

Most of the songs about the difficulties of living on the land - The Sky Road, Leaving the Land etc - could as well be about Australian or American farmers, or those anywhere else.

A few emigration songs reference the famine - Shane McGowan has a great line about "fear of priests with empty plates" in Thousands are Sailing, and as mentioned above City of Chicago covers similar areas.

I can't think of any not mentioned that specifically address the famine.

One thought that occured is that a search through the Gaelic tradition might yield you better results.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Dave'sWife at work
Date: 18 May 05 - 11:55 PM

Oddly enough, I recently had a very long conversation with my father about songs which refer to The Great Hunger (as it is known in my family). In that discussion, he confirmed a number of things I have always believed such as it is the height of rudeness to ask an Irish person (Irish-American I suppose since that's what I am) either to sing a song about The Great Hunger or any questions about the Great Hunger. He describes it as being similar to some stranger walking up to a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust and asking for either a song about Bergen-Belsen or a story about Dachau. Now I admit that's a very harsh thing to say, but that was what I was raised to believe. I'm sure there's a more genteel way to phrase that which would be less offensive.

Of course it is NOT rude to ask such a thing on a Music board or a folklore board! Not in the least! I'm glad to OP did ask because it gives me the opporunity to ask other Mudcatters how they were raised to deal with the subject of 'The Potato Famine." I'm curious to hear.

In my family, songs such as Skibbereen , which refers explicitly to The Great Hunger and the emmigration of millions, were never sung outside of family gatherings and certainly not in public or before non-Irish audiences. I know that has changed a great deal in the past 50 years and it is common to now hear some songs which we never would have dared sing outside of our own community. As Documentaries such as THE LONG JOURNEY HOME deal with the subject and the songs, such old prohibitions are bound to break down.

Mind you, my father's family emmigrated from Ireland in dribs and drabs between 1916 and 1920. It's not like they were over here for generations during which they would become less likely to find such subjects painful. I asked my father if his mother's family who had come over a generation earlier than that felt any differently about such songs. He replied they were a little less likely to be offended by the subject but they still considered it terribly impolite and not a proper topic for discussion outside the family.

Typically, these types of songs would get trotted out very late in the evening, after the kids had been put to bed and when the singers and musicians would begin singing in Irish. I never did hear most of them until I was old enough to stay up past 10PM. Then, they'd sing all 14 verses of Skibberren, often unaccompanied with different singers taking each few verses. After a few such terribly sad songs, people would often weep and then somebody would lighten things up or worse.. the IRA songs would get sung. Yikes.. that was the worst. Tipsy Uncles raising glasses to Mick Collins and then to less heroic figures... oh the horror!

Sinsull is from NYC as am I and I assume she's Irish. I would be interested to know if her family held similar prohibitions against singing songs about that subject outside of the family or in public. I was born in the early 1960s and my dad was born in 1939. Perhaps younger Irish-Americans have not been raised with these types of restrictive traditions.

In the 1980s I dated an Irish fellow in NYC whose parents were from Ireland and their family had the very same ideas about these songs. My family is from Western Ireland and his family was from the South, so I doubt it was a regional prejudice. He and I used to go up to East Durham in 'The Irish Alps' on weekends and the bands there would never play such songs until very late at night. Of course, he was 10 years older than I was so maybe he just got stuck with the same cultural baggage my Dad carries.

I bet Sinsull has been to East Durham! I wonder if that place is still like it was? When I was spending a lot of time up there, my Dad's mother used to tell me stories about the trouble she and her siblings used to get up to in East Durham back in the 1920s. I wonder how long that place has been a largely Irish Resort. Anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 19 May 05 - 02:51 AM

I just now got around to completely reading all the political posts in this thread. Yikes!

Please, please do not think my post was taking ANY sides in THAT debate. I feel I have to say this after readingall the above posts. I was merely recounting the conversation I had with my own father about 2 weeks ago. Most Mudcatters have pointed out that there are not many songs in english that speak only of The Great Hunger and that is because the songs in english for the most part are addressing larger issues. For the emmigrants, the Great Hunger was part of a larger scheme of Opression. Now whether or not that is true is not my concern.

I mention this detail about the belief that the Great Hunger was part of a larger 'plan' or attempt to re-order land ownership only to further illustrate exactly why such songs were not considered fit for polite company in many Irish-American families. Call it 'folk-memory' if you wish, but the entire subject was distasteful. Notice that we never refer to our families as 'Immigrants' but as Emmigrants which underscores the lack of choice in the matter of leaving Ireland. It's unlikely that 'Immigrants' from other parts of the world had any more choice in their leaving, but to this day, it still irks Irish-Americans that their families had to leave and thus, they refer to them as Emmigrants. It's linguistic evidence of a belief.

Since politics, Home-Rule, Occupation, Land Evictions, the Cromwell Invasion, and so on all get rolled up into one big ball of bad memory, any reference to any of it tends to be distasteful. I'm not surprised that this thread got ugly but I am disappointed. I would explain it by saying just as you can't use the 'N' word if you aren't black, you can't pontificate about The Great Hunger if you aren't at least of identifiable Irish descent. That doesn't stop people from doing either thing.. but there you have it.

Again, my family is of more recent Irish origin than most Irish-Americans and I suspect that as a result, our family views on the subject are more restrictive. You don't really learn about that stuff in our family until you are old enough to appreciate the gravity of it all. My grandfather had cousins executed and for years he had this one cousin we had to call by one name in public and another in private because he was a fugitive from British justice (stemming from acts committed before 1919 I think). The family was convinved that if his real name became known he'd get shot in the streets of NYC. How real or imaginary that threat was, I have no clue. He lived into his 90s and had a huge family. It's not ALL ancient history.

Since all these issues tend to get rolled into one.. any mention of The Great Hunger will inevitably lead to thornier issues..thus - NO SONGS ABOUT ANY OF IT IN POLITE COMPANY.

Please, nobody be offended. If my family is deluded, they aren't alone. I can't really speak to the issue being only 40. I can tell you that there are more poems/songs in Irish that are closer in time to the event but they exist mostly in Libraries and Academic Collections.   One such poem was used on the Soundtrack to THE LONG JOURNEY HOME. I'll see if I can find the documentation.

I'd be interested to read actual discussion on the posted topic and not more political views if it can be avoided.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: ard mhacha
Date: 19 May 05 - 03:24 AM

Dave`s wife,regarding regional differences,"My family is from western Ireland and his family is from the south" an Irish reader would find this statment baffling. I cannot imagine someone from Connaught having any conflict with a Munster person, except on the Hurling or football field.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 19 May 05 - 03:29 AM

Desperately trying to avoid the invective and spleen, is there any mileage in the idea that great human catastrophes often don't produce many songs in the folk tradition? I know of no songs about the Black Death (though Death and the Lady reflects attitudes that may have developed as a consequence), the 17th century plagues (except, just maybe but probably not, Ring-a-ring-a-Roses), the Fire of London (except London's Burning), the Eyam plague, the Bristol Channel tsunami, the Lancashire famine (17th or 18th? century- except a folk tale from Bolton-le-Sands about Pea Soup Year)...

Perhaps shock and despair don't inspire people.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 19 May 05 - 04:12 AM

Come to think of it, I don't really know any songs about concentration camps. There are some about events like the Warsaw Ghetto, and any number of poems, but no songs as far as I'm aware.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Irish Mark
Date: 19 May 05 - 04:14 AM

A fair point, Paul. Most of the songs that I'm aware of the touch on the famine aren't from the time. Could be that such trauma discourages expression, or maybe people were preoccupied with survival. Given the loss of population around the time in Ireland, it could just be that we lost a lot of songwriters (a similar effect to that suggested by the Great War on artistic and cultural life in europe in the early 20th century).

Ard Macha - I read Dave's wife's post to refer to regional variations in manners and customs rather than conflict. Thankfully, there are still some regional variations in conversation around the country. It's not all Greater Dublin yet :)


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 19 May 05 - 05:05 AM

Good God! I think the term for all this is "It's ALIVE !!!!!!"This was NOT what I intended and unfortunately got sucked into arguing with a parochial idiot against my better judgement. Allow me to clear a few things up - most of what I DID say was purely for "truth's" benefit to give him enough hangable rope - daresay I have achieved this end? We can only hope - bigotry, prejudice and ego have naught to do with folk music - except as subject matter.

Go back to my earlier post where I asked for this NOT to occur and then got 'flamed' by the so-called "truth": I tend to retaliate, and sometimes with heat - my apologies.

However, one comment has struck a chord - regards the (to simplify the various postings and contentions) "MOST crimes were punished by death - few by imprisonment" is basically how it can be interpreted.
Sorry, whoever wrote that but it is incorrect. YES, execution was a preferred option for many crimes above debt, however, it was generally applied more to "repeat" "serious" offenders of those crimes (theft etc.)
The general response to crime was imprisonment - this is what lead to the use of the literally dozens of prison hulks along the Thames and other warterways that would support them. The corollary of this was then "Transportation" to colonies because once there, the prisoner had to serve out his/her sentence (the most common was a sentence of around 7 years going by Australian records) and then, should the convict wish to return home - he/she was then required to EARN their passage home and pay for it: A task about as achievable as buying your own Jumbo Jet and flying yourself around the world should you wish to go somewhere today (so far John Travolta's about the only one capable of it). The means to do so was WAY beyond all but the most wealthy of "settlers", "emancipated convicts" or "Ticket-of-Leaver's". If I recall aright, even the great John MacArthur was taken back to England in chains but through lack of prosecution released and had to pay his way back to Australia again (his wife paid for it because by then she was wealthier than he!)

The bottom line. England preferred to "dump" its convicts on the colonies NOT as labour, but to relieve the overcrowded prison system and to get them out of its collective hair. The fact that virtually NONE could ever afford to return was a bonus.

If you wish for confirmation of this then I suggest you read the first few volumes of "A History of Australia" by Professor Manning Clark. Worldly regarded (not widely, but WORLDLY) as the most accurate, unbiased and definitive history of Australia and its settlement and development of any history written.

And for "truth's" benefit that includes Britain and the British historians as well.

For the mistakes I made through heated comments or inaccurate quotings - I apologise. But NOT to "truth" as he is a moron with all the perception and acumen of a straining post. Save your prejudicial bleatings for your National Front brethren and leave the discussion fora to those with something substantial between their ears - Unfortunately in your case I'm afraid it's a case of "The lights are flashing, the bells are ringing, but there's no train on the line" OR alternatively he "has the six-pack but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together" OR as we say in Oz - a few snags short of a barbie / a few sandwiches short of a picnic / a few sheep short of a mob / a bit of lamb short of a roast / kangaroos loose in the top paddock - - - anyone getting the picture?????

Sorry guys - feeling somewhat 'whimsical'

THANKS FOR ALL THE SONG SUGGESTIONS ANYWAY - don't mean to shout - but can't italicise for emphasis here for some reason

Mutt


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 19 May 05 - 06:06 AM

Muttley, there were few songs about the Famine, and most of those that were written (like The Praties They Are Small) were written in America.

You might, from your own family experience, be interested in Na Connerys, a song in Irish about a family transported through the actions of an informer; the song, with beautiful poetry and a gentle, meditative tune, is a curse addressed to the informer.

Not to throw oil on troubled flames, but the Famine, like virtually all famines, was a concatenation of crop failure and human (in-)action. Racist eugenic ideas and laissez-faire economics conspired in the action of the British government, which took the view that the lazy and incompetent would be starved, to the better advantage of the strong and hardworking survivors.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 May 05 - 07:00 AM

Let me add my apologies, as well. I get pretty tired of apologists, and I reacted in a way I shouldn't have.

Paul, that is a very interesting point and I immediately started thinking about the great tragedies and songs written during them and about them. Couldn't think of any, but it will be the subject of some research for me now.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: alison
Date: 19 May 05 - 08:52 AM

the song someone mentioned above where Christy Moore lists the food exported from Ireland whie the Irish were starving is "City of chicago"

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 19 May 05 - 09:42 AM

I was interested in the subject of the thread, but not expecting to have a contribution. I just felt the need to challenge some of the statements made.

Re the discussion on the small number of famine songs not written long after and not written in America, is the same true of songs about British oppression as well?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 19 May 05 - 09:47 AM

No, lots of songs about oppression.

Famine's different. People don't necessarily behave well. So they don't want to remember.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Grab
Date: 19 May 05 - 10:01 AM

I would explain it by saying just as you can't use the 'N' word if you aren't black, you can't pontificate about The Great Hunger if you aren't at least of identifiable Irish descent.

Dunno - sometimes it helps to have perspective. To take a risky analogy (at the danger of going wildly off-topic), ancestors of Jews who were slaughtered in the Holocaust on the basis of race and religion are today persecuting Palestinians on the basis of race and religion, whilst simultaneously commemorating the Holocaust and saying "you can't understand unless you're Jewish".

Similarly, for the Irish who had to leave Ireland, being evicted from their land was an unbelievably personal matter for them, even if it wasn't really anyone's fault, so the evicters (landowners, mostly English) naturally get the blame. It takes someone from outside to see that the evicters didn't have much in the way of options - you evict people that can't pay, or you lose everything and die in poverty too. Even the British government wasn't long on options - do you feed the starving Irish, or do you feed the thousands of people around the Empire who depend on the Empire having the food and funds to do so? And the ancestors of the evicted keep singing "I wish I was back home in Ireland", even though all their family from at least their great-grandparents onwards were born and bred in Chicago or Boston, and they now have ample money to move over there if they want to.

There is a difference between "perspective" and "heartlessness" though. Whilst the failure of the harvests and all that resulted from it may not have been anyone's fault, the fact was that many, many people suffered and died, and no-one must forget that loss. And that's what annoys me about how it seems these songs are sometimes perpetuated - as a racist slur against the perceived oppressors in some romanticised fight, rather than a memory of real loss. If you say "we shall never forget", make sure it's "because too many good people died for no reason, and this must never happen again", and not "because we want a good excuse to keep hating group XYZ".

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 19 May 05 - 10:05 AM

There are surely lots of songs about British oppression JTT, but don't most of them date from 1920 onward?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Statesthethetruthasheseesit
Date: 19 May 05 - 12:45 PM

""truth" ... is a moron with all the perception and acumen of a straining post. Save your prejudicial bleatings for your National Front brethren and leave the discussion fora to those with something substantial between their ears - Unfortunately in your case I'm afraid it's a case of "The lights are flashing, the bells are ringing, but there's no train on the line" OR alternatively he "has the six-pack but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together" OR as we say in Oz - a few snags short of a barbie / a few sandwiches short of a picnic / a few sheep short of a mob / a bit of lamb short of a roast / kangaroos loose in the top paddock - - - anyone getting the picture?????" - The Far from Venerable Muttley.

Was it something I said?

I could carry on with this and parry with his misconceptions, but quite honestly I feel I am banging my head against a brick wall. For the record, I am neither a National Front supporter nor do I have anything against Irishmen. I merely think they do go on a bit about how they have suffered, when, frankly, they havent in comparison with other people. This has been the thrust of my arguement and which Muttley seems to be avoiding. All my attempts to bring him back to what I actually said have failed miserably as he spirals off again and again onto unrelated subjects, and by doing so, helps support what I am saying. The whole Dresden thing is a perfect example. What city in Ireland has suffered like Dresdon-answer: None. I fell with the whole Australia thing, I should take this up, but with people like Muttley, I just know it will spiral onto other things and this could go on and on and on..... there is nothing I can do. It is hopeless really.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 20 May 05 - 04:07 AM

GUEST,Makesitupashegoesalong said:

"What city in Ireland has suffered like Dresdon-answer: None"

Drogheda. Wexford.

I like the way he can quantify and evaluate other people's suffering.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Muttley
Date: 20 May 05 - 04:14 AM

JTT
Looked up "Na Connerys" on the web but came up only with a band that sings in Irish Gaelic - is this wg=hat you meant or is there a song by that name as well? Or is there a specific song by them you meant (BTW - as the offspring of a non-Gaelic speaking Scot, I don't speak Irish Gaelic - hopefully I can get around to learning the Scots version via a teacher I have just been put in contact with but that's a fair way off)

Of course the flippant "Is Na Connerys related to Sean in any way also comes to mind. Sorry: I have a terribly twisted sense (which my wife refers to as a alleged, laughable and lamentable style) of "humour"

Mutt


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 May 05 - 04:42 AM

I love reading about the political and personal background to songs. However, I don't love the who-has-done-worse, who-has-suffered-most approach. But I do love for instance Dave's wife perspective. That was a completely new thought for me (not singing these songs in company). Of course, that perspective is a fairly subjective perspective and may differ in others, but songs are subjective as well and do tend not to be completely balanced ("shouldn't we insert a verse about Auschwitz for balance?". They are sometimes even not fair or factually correct. But there's no reason to expect that. Songs are written to transport emotion, hope, despair and, at least since the invention of printing, the more balanced and fact oriented apporach is done in prose and in history books.

So hearing about family traditions and about feelings helps me to understand the reasons why these songs have been written. BTW, in political (and personal) discussions trying to listen to what someone else feels most times helps more than debating the facts cited for a feeling.

Another point: I have read here the good thought that some really catastrophic events don't lead to songs written at that time. Some of our songs about the black death for instance have been written after the event. If I was fighting for my life with nearly no hope of survival I's sing the songs I know and would not have the strength to write a new one. Times of hardship with no immediate danger to life, however, are good times for songs. Songs of lamenting, of hope, of accusations. But you need a bit of hope and strength remaining to be able to write a song.

So, there are actually loads of songs from concentration camps (I have a book full of them; the best know in English is 'peatbog soldiers'). But these are the songs written by people living under duress and hard conditions with physical and verbal abuse but with no immediate threat to be killed. These people (opposition to the Nazis) could hope for an end to the Nazi terror before their own death. I know of no song (written at that time) about the later extermination camps (for Jews, Roma,...). If there were any such songs, they'd have died with their writers half an hour later.

Very close to being an exception from what I've written are of course the poems (often set to music by others later) by Katzenelson in the Ghetto, during the uprising, and during waiting for the final transport. I'm fairly sure he has made a last poem in the packed train to Auschwitz, but we shall never know it.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 May 05 - 05:13 AM

I love reading about the political and personal background to songs. However, I don't love the who-has-done-worse, who-has-suffered-most approach. But I do love for instance Dave's wife perspective. That was a completely new thought for me (not singing these songs in company). Of course, that perspective is a fairly subjective perspective and may differ in others, but songs are subjective as well and do tend not to be completely balanced ("shouldn't we insert a verse about Auschwitz for balance?". They are sometimes even not fair or factually correct. But there's no reason to expect that. Songs are written to transport emotion, hope, despair and, at least since the invention of printing, the more balanced and fact oriented apporach is done in prose and in history books.

So hearing about family traditions and about feelings helps me to understand the reasons why these songs have been written. BTW, in political (and personal) discussions trying to listen to what someone else feels most times helps more than debating the facts cited for a feeling.

Another point: I have read here the good thought that some really catastrophic events don't lead to songs written at that time. Some of our songs about the black death for instance have been written after the event. If I was fighting for my life with nearly no hope of survival I's sing the songs I know and would not have the strength to write a new one. Times of hardship with no immediate danger to life, however, are good times for songs. Songs of lamenting, of hope, of accusations. But you need a bit of hope and strength remaining to be able to write a song.

So, there are actually loads of songs from concentration camps (I have a book full of them; the best know in English is 'peatbog soldiers'). But these are the songs written by people living under duress and hard conditions with physical and verbal abuse but with no immediate threat to be killed. These people (opposition to the Nazis) could hope for an end to the Nazi terror before their own death. I know of no song (written at that time) about the later extermination camps (for Jews, Roma,...). If there were any such songs, they'd have died with their writers half an hour later.

Very close to being an exception from what I've written are of course the poems (often set to music by others later) by Katzenelson in the Ghetto, during the uprising, and during waiting for the final transport. I'm fairly sure he has made a last poem in the packed train to Auschwitz, but we shall never know it.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 20 May 05 - 05:23 AM

Oh, I hadn't actualy heard songs, just poems, though as the word is much the same in Hebrew I could have been misreading it.
There are lots of Israeli songs that it's tactless to play on a regular day in the year, as they are associated with tragic events.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Statesthetruthasheseesit
Date: 20 May 05 - 07:24 AM

Burke by name, berk by Reputation, replied to my statement: "What city in Ireland has suffered like Dresdon-answer: None" by answering "Drogheda. Wexford."

And these are in living memory, then? The point that I am making is about living memory. I do wish people would follow the argument a bit more closely.

However, in Drogheda and Wexford, no non-combatants were killed. It is not a good idea to look at Cromwell through the eyes of 19th Century Irish nationalism.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 20 May 05 - 09:44 AM

Gosh, GUEST,Statesthefirstthingthatcomesintohishead, that's witty! I haven't heard that one before!!!

There was certainly a massacre of civilians at Wexford at least.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: ejsant
Date: 21 May 05 - 07:53 AM

Greetings Dave's Wife at a Work,

I too am in the NYC area. The earliest of my mother's family's emigration seems to be around the end of the eighteenth century. By the time I came around, the later nineteen fifties, there was little of direct memory in our family's lore. I am also part of perhaps the first generation that had another nationality mixed in with the Irish. Consequentially our family traditions were more American than anything else. I remember my maternal grandmother lamenting about the political and social struggles of the Irish during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as she was part of a predominately Irish community in the heights of Jersey City growing up, but we never sang songs about that as a child. I also remember discussions lamenting about No Irish Need Apply but again we didn't sing songs about that as a child either. I suppose that this was more a function of the mind set that children should not be exposed to the negative aspects of life. This was reserved for adult, or at the very least, later adolescent stages.

My learning more of my ancestral history has been an undertaking of mine of recent years although once "old enough" to understand I was indeed informed of the suffering of my ancestors but it was never addressed in such a way that I felt that the Irish were the only lot that suffered. Nor was the discussion of the suffering of my Irish ancestors offered in such a way that I felt compelled to dislike any nationality or ethnicity. I did learn to despise the actions of certain individuals in history but I was always raised to not condemn a nationality for the actions of some within that nationality.

East Durham is still a hot bed of Irish tradition and it is still referred to as the "Irish Riviera". Memorial Day weekend is still a big Irish culture celebratory weekend there and the Summer Irish Arts Week is still flourishing.

Greetings Graham,

Great points about the historical suffering of many people. I agree that prevention of such for any peoples should be the message taken and promoted throughout the world. Reflection upon past injustices should serve to motivate all of us towards the prevention of future occurrences. However it should be the compassion of the people that serves as the motivation and the people themselves that work together to right the wrongs rather than the armies of the capitalists in their stead as the later only serves to fulfill the needs of the relatively few. I truly believe that if we all extended our hand in compassionate effort to help another and this philosophy was carried in the hearts of all around the world we will recreate and sustain Eden. This is indeed the one dream of mine that if it were to come to fruition I would with great pleasure abandon all others. I suspect I am not alone in this hope.

Peace,
Ed


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: ElwynnMaxon
Date: 21 May 05 - 12:31 PM

I have read this all before in many different journals and many different forums. This has also gone far afield from the original post.

It is hard to argue against one simple fact. Food was transported out of Ireland to other countries while many people in Ireland starved to death. I have no interest in the old politics or how they are manipulated to adress some real or imagined injustices in the present, people starved to death because of the apparent intended will of another group of people. The very though of using food as weapon to enforce or implement a political doctrine on a non combatant population is chilling.

That alone should be considered anathema by every person in this room regardless of who is doing it to whom.

E.M.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 11:27 AM

"The Germans suffered greatly in both wars "

Maybe they shouldn't have started them then.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 10:03 PM

Just to return to the topic, I was interested to learn that "The Praties They Grow Small" was originally published and copyrighted in the US several years before the Great Potato Famine. It, iys original form, had nothing to do with Ireland, amd was considered a humorous song. Variants that demean several different US states have been widely collected.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Teribus
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 01:51 AM

Pure thread drift, but just to put our historian (European Specialist) right on a couple of points:

Muttley - 15 May 05 - 01:57 AM

Point One:
"The Irish had the same democratic rights as everyone else in Britain. Irishman were bundled off to Australia for political activities"

Well as a matter of fact so were Scots (Thomas Muir of Huntershill) so were English Tolpuddle Martyrs. Transportation to Australia is very well documented, it is possible to go through the names to find where people came from, what their offence was, the sentence handed down (For Australia it was normally a period of 7 years, 14 years, or transportation for life). I have as yet not found any case of anyone being transported for "Wearing of the Green", or for being ""Irish". The Guest you were responding to was absolutely correct in his statement with regard to democratic rights.

Point Two:
The Irish did NOT have any democratic rights from the mid 1600's when Cromwell invaded until 1930-ish when they won their independence.

Not true, I believe if you do actually look into it you will find that they had exactly the same rights as anyone else under the laws of the day. Cromwell by the way was as big a bastard to the English, Scots and Welsh as he was to the Irish, but every cloud has a silver lining, in doing what he did, at the time he did it, he actually managed to save Parliament and Britain's parliamentary style of government. By the Bye Ireland won her independence in 1921.

Point Three:
"Add to this the "Liberation of the death camps" Britain knew of Auschwitz before the war began and did nothing about it."

A student of History you might be, but you are a poor one, your knowledge of geography is lacking. Now tell me why I say that, and why your statement quoted above is ludicrous. Could it be that Auschwitz is in Poland and as such the British, nor even the Germans, could not have known about it BEFORE the war began, because if memory serves me correctly, it was the German invasion of Poland that caused both Britain and France to declare war on Germany.

Point Four:
"The death camps were, in fact, liberated (approximately 95% of them, anyway) by the US and Russian forces - NOT the Brits."

Then you have never heard of Bergen-Belsen on Luneburg Heath in Northern Germany, one of the largest German camps it was liberated by British Forces in 1945. A young BBC reporter called Richard Dimbleby was one of the first people to enter the camp. I think your Guest was making reference to the undoubted fact that the camps would not have been liberated if Britain had not made the stand it did in 1940.

Point Five:
"Germany did not suffer during WW1 - their soldiers did at the front - but at home things were quite 'normal' - as they were in Britain."

Rationing, massive social upheaval and underlying threat of open revolution. Many German soldiers at the front (A certain Mr. A. Hitler among them) believed that they had been stabbed in the back by the German civilian population, that civilian population having reached the end of its collective tether. Things were far from 'Normal' if normal refers to conditions and attitudes before commencement of hostilities.

Point Six:
"Finally - to the bombing again - BRITAIN was the first nation to bomb a city full of civilians when a bomber stream went off course early in WW2 and bombed Berlin. The Blitz was, in fact a retaliation for that action. Previously the Germans had confined their raids to military installations, radar installations and airfields."

So as a Masters student in history the mention of the Zeppelin and Gotha Raids on British cities during the First World War, will come as a great surprise, if not downright astonishment. Likewise the bombing of Guernica during that massive Fascist/Communist 'live fire exercise' otherwise known as the Spanish Civil War. Or maybe cities such as Warsaw and Rotterdam, the latter being flattened after having been declared an 'open city'.

Point Seven:
"I suggest you actually READ history instead of rendering your own" anglophobic version of it.

You seem to have opened up that "can of worms" - But then that is exactly what you intended to do. You opened this thread on the pretext of asking about Famine Songs, many here have responded to that request, so far I have not seen evidence of you remarking, or showing the slightest interest on their input.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 08:12 AM

This is the review of Frank Harte's CD The Hungry Voice that I wrote for Irish Music magazine in July, 2004. It appeared shortly afterwards.

FRANK HARTE with DONAL LUNNY

The Hungry Voice: The Song Legacy of Ireland's Great Hunger

Hummingbird Records HDCD0034

17 tracks, 79 minutes

Like their earlier recordings about the 1798 Rebellion and the Napoleonic era, The Hungry Voice looks at a defining period in Irish history, the Great Famine and its effect on the Irish People over the next 150 years. Researcher/singer/writer Frank Harte and producer/accompanist Donal Lunny are a prestigious team. Harte, the dean of Dublin singers for decades, and Lunny, a founder of supergroups such as Planxty and The Bothy Band, were among the first performers to be acknowledged during the revival in Irish traditional music which is now more than 30 years old. The Hungry Voice, dealing with an immense and difficult topic that has not been thoroughly examined through song in one place before, is without doubt one of the most important recordings of 2004.   

Few songs are composed in the midst of misery so this is, as it says, a 'song legacy' that incorporates pieces composed well afterwards including Luka Bloom's recent 'City of Chicago'. Frank Harte sings very well on all 17 songs, 7 of which are lightly accompanied by Donal Lunny including 'Sailing Off to Yankee Land' and 'Rigged Out', which will be new to most. More widely known songs such as 'Skibbereen', 'Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore' and 'Thousands Are Sailing to America' appear in full versions and are given fine treatment. 'The Green Fields of America' lauds immigrant life in Canada while 'Edward Connors' decries it. 'No Irish Need Apply' addresses prejudice against Irish Catholics in the United States and 'By the Hush' tells how some immigrant Irish who responded to the Union's call for recruits during the American Civil War were tragically let down afterwards. 'Erin's Lovely Home', 'Poor Pat Must Emigrate', 'The Shamrock Shore', 'Lone Shanakyle', 'Lough Sheelin Side', 'My Own Dear Galway Bay' and one of my favourites, 'Pat Maguire', a Molly Maguire anti-eviction song, complete the selections. Listening to the recording is improved by reading Frank's recollections of the singers who gave him many of the songs.

Equal partner to the music is a 50-page booklet, which distils Harte's years of research on the Famine and emigration and places the songs in human, socio-political, economic, historical and cultural contexts. The Great Famine was a complex event and this document explains it extraordinarily well. It is a sharp and artful picture of how Ireland's population decreased by 1.5 to 2 million people within a seven-year span and the profound and continuing effect that loss has on the Irish at home and throughout the Diaspora. Certainly, Irishmen had left their homeland en masse before. The British military and the penal transports had already taken untold multitudes away and America had already enticed great numbers of the worldlier minority. But the death by starvation, disease and exposure, and the forced emigration of hundreds of thousands during the mid-19th century was simply stunning. It was a devastating time as well for those who lived on in Ireland. Why did they survive and how?                  

Very highly recommended. This is a recording you are likely to share with a student or to learn a song from because The Hungry Voice will be a resource for students and singers for years to come.

Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Tam the man
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 08:55 AM

fields of athenry


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 09:01 AM

Dan, I have Frank's CD and I must tell you that it is a wondrous collection, excellently rendered. But then, what would one expect from Donal Lunny and Frank Harte (God be good to him). I was not aware of the book, but I shall look for it straightaway.

I recorded a song written by a fella in Maryland that is called "Along the Famine Road".   A search in Mudcat should turn up the lyrics.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 12:24 PM

Makes me wonder why people start threads like this. Before I opened it I knew where it would lead. What about someone starting "songs of the higland clearances" it would probably produce at least as much bile and pointless invective.

I hate it when MC sinks this low, with apology's to the genuine posters (who will know who they are)

Spot the Dog (part border collie and part bulldog)


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Beer
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 04:56 PM

Right on Spot.
the Dog.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 06:38 PM

Guys, your feelings are understandable, but it points out one of the pet peeves I have. Invariably, when discussing this subject, or the troubles, whatever, some well meaning person gets upset when the subject turns to politics. But the event that spawned the songs we want to discuss is steeped in politics. As a performing artist, the discussions (often heated) have had a huge impact on my view of this, consequently on my interpretation. To discuss songs about the Great Hunger without the politics and passions involved would be pointless. The give and take on both sides by knowledgeable posters makes for great reading and helps all to understand.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 07:14 PM

I recognise that as artist 'an easy access to the emotions'( as Lord Olivier called it) might be a plus. However for the sake of those as yet unborn, we really do need a little less passion on this subject, and some cool clear steps towards peace.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: leftydee
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 10:29 PM

There is a wonderful Irish "pop" song by Luka Bloom. He's Christy Moore's brother. It addresses the suffering of those forced to immigrate during the starving times. It's on the album "Salty Heaven". It is called "Forgiveness" and is well worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Rutger
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 09:08 AM

My friend Jeff Porterfield has written "Black '47" - another song with some old family history. He posted it in Oct 2003 in a discussion thread; also the song was tweaked a bit in summer of 2004.
-Rutger


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 11:39 AM

I too agree with you Mick but robust discussion should not contain elements of personal abuse. The angst that people feel about these horrors sometimes spills into invective.

I sometimes feel like an apologist for being English (and Welsh but mainly english) because there isn't a solitary thing I can do about the Great Hunger except say I am sorry it happened. I wasn't there, neither were my Parents or Grandparents (who were welsh in any case). This frustration at feeling accused of something most decent people find abhorrent sometimes make me very angry, not at the accuser but at the situation of having no control of events that happened before I was born. I (usually) chose not to enter the discussion arena in case this frustration spills into my posts as it did from other posters on this thread.

Don't forget but forgive.

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 11:49 AM

well at the historical point being discussed, my family was Irish, but I am English now. I think its probably a bit presumptious to tell them to forgive us. The Irish Rebel songs are amongst the most beautiful songs ever written and they will always stir deep feelings in the audience as well as the performer.

However just as the Germans and Israel are keeping their eyes on the prize - so must we. You can't bury the past - nor should we want to. But we must not make our cultures a flashpoint, a cause of conflict between our countries.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 11:49 AM

Spot, you should never feel that way. The various abuses of peoples all over the world leave plenty for all of us to apologize for. I bear no ill will towards the English people, as most I have met have been wonderful and gracious to me. What we are talking about was the policy of a government. The only ones that infuriate me are the ones who attempt to mitigate the actions of the times. Or the ones that attempt to continue to justify policies in the North of Ireland that continue to subjugate and discriminate against folks. Time for it to end.

We have all been guilty at various times on this forum of letting our passions get in the way of civil discourse.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 12:20 PM

Both points taken. It can work!

Spot


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 01:21 PM

Spot The Dog
You made an interesting suggestion/comparison.

(What about someone starting "songs of the higland clearances" it would probably produce at least as much bile and pointless invective)

I am not sure that it would produce as much.
There is certainly no comparable amount of debate on this forum.
The bearing of historical grudges, and the need to write emotive songs about events involving long gone generations, seems especially strong in Irish history.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Nov 05 - 01:25 PM

Big Mick,
You wrote
"justify policies in the North of Ireland that continue to subjugate and discriminate against folks"

I thought all such policies have been consigned to history.
Which still continue?


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 08:46 PM

Thread creep, I suppose, to contribute this. It has no music. James Clarence Mangan had months to live when he wrote it, in 1849. It has now been published in his Collected Works by Irish Academic Press (Poems, Volume 4, pp. 137 - 138)


T H E    F A M I N E

It was a time when thoughts and violets bloomed --
When skies were bright, and air was bland and warm,
And Pleasure every fleeting hour assumed
A new and strange Chameleon hue and form.
When, suddenly, that hand-cloud, once beheld
From Carmel by the Tishbite seer of Eld --
Appeared, and foresayed coming storm.

All minds were called away. The slumberers who
Had slept through years of Idleness awoke --
All felt a consciousness of somewhat new,
The lightning prelude to the thunder-stroke.
GOD struck on every heart, and men grew pale --
Their bliss was metamorphosed into bale.
There was no Power they dared evoke!

Even as the dread Simoom of Araby
Sweeps o'er the desert and through the pathless air,
So came, 'mid Ireland's joy and revelry,
That cloud of gloom above her visions fair.
The thoughtless wondered, and the thoughtful wept.
And those who through long years had dreamt and slept
Arose -- too many to Despair!

Despair? Yes! For a blight fell on the land --
The soil, heaven-blasted, yielded food no more --
The Irish serf became a Being banned --
Life-exiled as none ever was before.
The old man died beside his hovel's hearth,
The young man stretched himself along the earth,
And perished, stricken to the core!

O, GOD! Great GOD! Thou knowest, seest, Thou!
All-blessed be Thy name! This work is Thine --
To Thy decrees, Thy law, Thy will, we bow --
We are but worms, and Thou art THE DIVINE!
But Thou wilt yet in Thine own day redeem
Thy Faithful; and this land's bright sun shall beam
To Earth a Pharos and a Sign!

Ye True, ye Noble, who unblenching stand
Amid the storms and ills of this dark Day,
Still hold your ground! Yourselves, your Fatherland,
Have in the Powers above a surest stay!
Though Famine, Pest, Want, Sickness of the Heart,
Be now your lot -- all these shall soon depart --
And Heaven be yet at your command!


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,Louise Kitt
Date: 05 Jan 17 - 09:00 PM

John Tunney - Remember Dubh Loch was one of the most powerful sean nos songs/story I have ever heard of the famine. I can supply words and a copy of words and melody if you would like them. This song was recoreded by CCE on the cassette (yes that long ago) called "a bar of a song" recorded by John Tunney (son of Paddy Tunney) Donegal


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Iains
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 07:52 AM

Songs of the great Irish Famine.


http://cbladey.com/patat/Songs.html
Some of these have already been listed.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: Iains
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 08:29 AM

It took a widespread failure of grain crops in the late 18th century, and resulting famines in Germany, Ireland and Scotland for the importance of potatoes as a food crop to be recognised in northern Europe.

By the 19th century they had become a staple food, a factor in Europe's population boom. Blight, unknown when potatoes first arrived in Europe, now became a grave hazard.
No cure was known for the blight until potato-growers downwind from a copper-smelting plant in South Wales noticed that their crops were blight-free. However it was not until 1882, almost 40 years after the famine, that scientists discovered a cure for Phytophthora Infestans: a solution of copper sulphate sprayed before the fungus had gained root. At the time of the famine there was nothing that farmers could do to save their crop. Since then 'Bordeaux mixture' (a spray of copper sulphate and lime) has been used to protect conventionally grown crops.
It is the height of tragedy that the cure for the blight was found by smelting ores in Swansea that were imported from numerous mines in West Cork and the Beara penninsula where the effects of the famine were perhaps the most extreme. Although by 1880 irish copper imports were in decline as new world mines such as butte took precedence.


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Subject: RE: Songs about The Potato Famine - Ireland
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 06 Jan 17 - 01:18 PM

Yes Raggytash, think you are right there- time to get back to the songs from those awful times, the point of this thread.


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