In Irish history, the theme of emigration is very common. Actually the Irish Population in 1841 was approximately 8.2Mn and by 1961 this number had decreased almost by half to 4.2Mn. The main catalyst for this decline was the Great Famine, a period of mass starvation and disease starting in 1845 and lasting until 1852. Prompting widespread emigration, many Irish people had no choice but to leave their Country, Homes and Families. The silver lining however, was that these people became ambassadors for Ireland overseas who built very strong cultural connections with the US, UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries.
アイルランド人口は1841年は820万人だったが、1961年には420万人となった。 The Great Famine (1847)(大飢饉)により1920年までに約600万人もの人々がアイルランドを離れた。彼らはUSAやイギリス、カナダ、オーストラリア等に散り散りになった…
Irish people have since spread all over the world, and even today I myself am living here in Japan. While we enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures we never forget about Ireland. In fact, many Irish songs are written by Irish people living overseas remembering their family and loved ones back home.
At 巨人のシチューハウス I’d like to share some of these songs with you so every week we'll have a short acoustic set showcasing some of my favorite Irish Music.
Below are a few examples of my favorite Emigration Related Songs with a brief explanation of each song. Please Enjoy and keep an eye on our events page for more details.
(1) Spancill Hill
This song is about a man who is living in California. He is lying in bed dreaming about his hometown called Spancill Hill and as he dreams he imagines he is back home with his friends and most importantly with his one true love.
(2) Streets of New York
Here we hear the story of a young Irish man who leaves his farm in Ireland to go to New York to live with his Uncle and start a new life. His uncle is a police man in New York. This is very interesting because many irish people who moved to America would become Policemen or Firemen. However, when this young man is flying to New York, his uncle is shot and dies. So he arrives and is all alone, however he does succeed in building a good life for himself, but never forgets his home in Ireland.
(3) Missing You
This is a song about an Irish Man who moved to London in the 1980s, who again is trying to find a better life. Unfortunately, he can’t find work, has no money and becomes homeless. In the song he is saying he would give anything for a flight back to Ireland but because of the shame of being homeless he cannot return home.
Originally a Celtic song from Scotland it has become very popular in Ireland. The word ‘Caledonia’ is the latin word for Scotland that was used by the Romans. It was written by a musian called Dougie McLean in just 10 minutes while he was lonely sitting on a beach in the south of france in 1977. It’s a sad song about how he imagines things are changing at home while he’s gone. Upon writing the song he went back to the youth hostel and sang it to his friends. The next day they all went home to Scotland.
The N17 is the name of a road the goes from a town called Tuam to a small City in the west of Ireland called Galway. In this song, the very lonely writer is remembering his home, family and friends and wishes to himself that he was on this road which takes him to both his home in Tuam and Galway City where he had so many happy times.
(6) Oro se do Beatha Bhaile
This is a very old song sung in the Irish language. It’s about a young girl called Grainne, who is sold into slavery and taken away from Ireland. However, Irishmen then go on a journey to bring her home. The song title means ‘Hurray! welcome home’.
(7) Heart is in Ireland
This song is about a man who is traveling throughout the UK. He visits London, Wales, Birmingham and Scotland; in each place he visits he meets people with connections to Ireland. They may not live there anymore but they all agree on the same thing, that there is still a part of them that loves Ireland very much.