Hi Paddy Plastique,
"...the practice of playing the pipes in front of those about to become cannon fodder had established itself at the time." (Re Crimean War)
A wee snippet for you. During the Battle of Waterloo at one stage French artillery fire was so intense that Wellington ordered his troops to retire behind a small ridge. Marshall Ney was convinced they were retreating and ordered a massed cavalry attack. Wellington's Army formed squares as the only form of defence and the square formed by 79th (Cameron Highlanders)was formed with their piper marching round the outside of it. The cavalry charges were repeated and still he continued to play. The story that one of the guys kneeling down on the side of the square facing these charges shouted to piper MacKay on his third time round, "For fuck's sake Mackay play them something they like!!" has never been established - but the piper amazingly enough survioved the day and was presented with a set of silver pipes for his troubles.
The chorus I know for the Kerry Recruit comes from the Corries and is a bit simpler than those given above:
There were certainly seperate Irish regiments during the Napoleonic Wars (Irish Fusiliers, Connaught Rangers, Irish Dragoon Guards and Enniskillen Dragoons, etc)
During the Napoleonic Wars around forty Scottish regiments were raised (Line regiments, militia, etc) but during the Crimean War there were only three Scottish regiments of foot. This prompted the question, "Where are the Highlanders?" and it was this that brought to general public notice what a devastating effect the Highland Clearances had had on the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. By the time of the Crimean War (mid-1800's?) the clearances had been going on for about 150 years.