The Bold Fenian Men

Saturday, April 23, AD 2016

Something for the weekend.  Down by the Glenside (The Bold Fenian Men).   Tomorrow marks the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin which set in motion the chain of events leading to Irish independence.  Shortly before the Rising this song was written by  Peadar Kearney.  He would go on to fight in the Irish War of Independence.  A personal friend of Michael Collins, after Collins was slain in the Irish Civil War, Kearney sickened of politics.  He resumed his trade as a house painter and died in 1942 in relative obscurity and poverty.

Compare and contrast the above two versions of The Bold Fenian Men.  Although I have long been a fan of the Clancy Brothers, I confess that I prefer the acappella version.  The Sons of the Pioneers did a notable version of the song in the John Wayne movie Rio Grande, anachronistically singing a song in the 1870s that would not be written until 1916.

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One Response to The Bold Fenian Men

  • God bless you, Mac!

    That scene from the “Rio Grande” movie is one of my “go-to’s.” Victor McLaughlin blubbering – priceless. Also, priceless is the horsemen in those classic cavalry movies.

The Rising of the Moon

Saturday, January 7, AD 2012






Something for the weekend.  I feel in the mood for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon sung by the Clancy Brothers.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and the Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute.

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5 Responses to The Rising of the Moon

  • Also, today in 1718, Israel Putnam was born in Salem, MA.

    “While Britannia’s sons with their long range guns
    Sailed in through the foggy dew.”

    Remember the heroes of Easter Monday 1916.

    My Jewish associate, a fine well-educated man, once asked me, “What’s with the Irish? The Scots and Welsh learned to live with it.” I told him, “We’re a hard-headed people.”

    In the end, freedom came to the Irish through patriots’ maximum sacrifices and sufferings.

  • Glory be!

    We have a new Cardinal in St. Patrick’s: Timothy Cardinal Dolan, God Bless him!

  • Donald,

    I love the Clancy Brothers. I discovered them quite by accident. I picked up a CD from my library because I wanted to learn more about traditional Irish folk music, and the cover had a photo of what looked like traditional Irish singers, what with their fisherman sweaters and all.

    The CD actually was a recent effort – Older But No Wiser from 1995. I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough Clancy Bros. The vocals are magical and the songs are rousing and sad at the same time.

    I even got some Cajun high school guys interested in them. I took some students backpacking in the Smokies, and on the way I “subjected” them to Irish songs of drinking and rebellion. They got to know the songs, and on the trail we would sing them. On the way back home, they were asking me to play the CD.

    Thanks for the interesting stuff you post here that keeps me coming back.

  • Thank you Nicholas! The Clancy Brothers sang their songs with complete conviction. Their voices, especially as they got older, were sometimes a bit rough around the edges, but that, to me, lends their singing a ring of authenticity that is sadly missing among many other songsters.

  • Truly a source of inspiration.
    Never, ever give up.