Happy St. Patrick’s Day! From Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In 2008, just before the historic U.S. elections, I was in Ireland. The Irish were crazy for “Barack O’Bama,” including the craze that developed around this song by Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys. (To read more about that Irish drive through Obama’s ancestral home in County Offaly, go here.) So enjoy the original 2008 video of “There’s No One as Irish as Barack O’Bama.” There have been lots of variations since this one.

And here’s a little history on why everyone should be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick’s Day had occasionally been a forum for social protest prior to the famine, but strong emotions aroused by the effects of starvation and mass emigration, together with the crystallization of nationalist sentiment, engendered a situation where 17 March became a regular focus for claims about a separatist Irish identity. On St Patrick’s Day, 1846, two ships, the Thatis and the Borneo, harbored in Limerick, illegally hoisted the green flag of Ireland in ‘honor of the national festival.’ The flags were quickly removed on orders of the British war steamer, the Pinto, but not before ‘the feelings of the multittude’ watching and cheering the flag from the harbour wall, ‘were desperately excited.’ This demonstration, while illegal, was ultimately an unimportant affair but it did demonstrate how nationalist feelings could find a voice on 17 March.

During the 1850s, the expression of such sentiments become far more vocal, and, for the British authorities in Ireland, increasingly threatening. This related, largely, to the vexed issue of land ownership in Ireland. In the wake of the famine, the Tenant Right Movement emerged to champion the cause of the tenant and to campaign against high rents, insecure tenure of land and summary eviction. The movement held its key public meetings on St. Patrick’s Day: it was an occasion on which many people were granted a holiday by their employers in honor of the day’s religious significance, so were free to attend. On St Patrick’s Day in 1859 the Tenant Right Movement staged mass meetings in Donhill, County Tipperary and Castlecomber, County Kilkenny, which attracted crowds of some 30,000 and 20,000 people respectively.”– Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair (from The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day)

 

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