Of course, I couldn't let the day go by without a little bit of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem for ya!
Carrickfergus is an ancient town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Because of its proximity to Belfast, it has a long history of involvement with the struggle for independence. The Irish language name of the town, Carraig Fhearghais, means "the Rock of Fergus" in English. (Literary trivia - Jonathan Swift once lived nearby.) This song is a 19th century translation of an old folk song and probably resonated deeply with the many immigrants who left Ireland to come to America in the second half of that century.
The poem Tommy Makem recites at the beginning of the clip below is "High and Low" by the Irish poet James H. Cousins (1873-1956). Here is the text:
He stumbled home from Clifden fair
With drunken song, and cheeks aglow.
Yet there was something in his air
That told of kingship long ago.
I sighed -- and inly cried
With grief that one so high should fall so low.
But he snatched a flower and sniffed its scent,
And waved it toward the sunset sky.
Some old sweet rapture through him went
And kindled in his bloodshot eye.
I turned -- and inly burned
With joy that one so low should rise so high.
Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day! Or, as they say in Carrickfergus, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!