I did some research on the song in the late nineties after hearing it on an Irish folk-song CD (an anthology of a lot of different Irish performers) and found a reference that I no longer have the URL for that attributed the "Fiddlers Green" Irish fisherman version to a variation on on an old military ballad from Scotland "Wrap Me in my Tarpaulin Coat" (or some varation thereof). I remember that this reference dated the song to the early 19th century with the notation that it was probably a derivation of an even older song now lost to the written record.
When the TV movie about the Confederate submarine, the Hunley, was made a few years back, there's a pub scene where the crew is talking and in the background a fiddle player is playing Fiddler's Green. Although anyone who knew the story of the Hunley should have known that it was going to sink, I took the choice of songs for that scene to be an early hint to the uniformed that the crew was doomed.
I was prompted by the lyrics of the version I have on CD to write my own version, that I called "God's Dixie Land" to describe an old Confederate soldier about to die and expecting to go to Heaven and that it would be just like Dixie Land. (I do a lot of the same kind of stuff that Jed Marum, also a Mudcatter, does if you're familiar with him except that he's an equal opportunity songwriter, covering both sides while I'm strictly Cofederate since all my ancestry in that era was.)
If anyone is interested, here's my version:
God's Dixie Land
sung to the tune of "Fiddlers' Green")
©Wayne B. Anderson, 2000
As I walked through the campsite one evening so rare
To view the gold sunset and take the fresh air,
An old wounded soldier was singing a song,
Oh take me away boys, my time is not long
Wrap me up in my oilcloth and blanket
And dig me a grave in the sand.
Just tell my old comrades that I'll be soon dead
But I'll see 'em some day in God's Dixie Land.
Now God's Dixie Land is a place I've heard tell
Where Confederates go when they don't go to Hell.
On the south side of Heaven, the side that's the best
Where no Yankees can come in to disturb your rest.
In God's Dixie Land it's late spring every day
With the corn and the cotton just growin' away.
Green pastures, fat cattle, fine horses you'll see
And all the cool well water that you'll ever need.
I don't need a harp nor a halo, not me.
Just give me a front porch and cool blowin' breeze.
I'll play my old banjo and sing me some songs,
Might dance with a pretty girl if one comes along.