When most people think of Irish music, they think of the music of step dancing, or rowdy drinking songs sung at a pub. There is a wealth more to Irish music than just that.
There were songs that protested war, like “Four Green Fields”. There were also Irish parody songs, such as “Finnegan’s Wake”, which helped bring humor to somber occasions.
The song “Four Green Fields” tells the story of an old woman reminiscing about her for green fields that she had. The woman represents Ireland, and the fields are the four provinces of Ireland. The song details the war that was fought between Ireland and England for control of Ireland. The song mentions a field that is still “in strangers’ hands”. This is a reference to Ulster, the province of Ireland that is still under the control of England. The song is a gentle but obvious call for a completely free Ireland. Soft but strong.
“Finnegan’s Wake” is a combination of a drinking song and an Irish parody song. The song pokes fun at a wake that gets quite rowdy. At the end of the wake, the corpse (who was not really dead in the first place) wakes up. An Irish wake can be just as rowdy as a pub. The Irish culture believes in celebrating their dead, and it is not uncommon for whiskey to be a part of that celebration. Things can get rowdy and jovial. This song demonstrates that part of Irish culture, and also pokes a little bit of healthy fun at it. The Irish are a people who are not afraid to laugh at themselves.
Irish music is a culture unto itself. It can evoke laughter, sorrow, and any emotion in between. All anyone interested in learning about Irish culture has to do is listen to Irish music.