Book Review: Walk the Blue Fields: Stories by Claire Keegan


Author: Claire Keegan Title:Walk the Blue Fields: Stories Publication Info: Grove Press, Black Cat (2008) Summary/Review: This is a collection of stories set in Ireland.  They are contemporary tales but set in rural settings so there are lots of traditional gender roles, repressed emotions, and outcomes that are rather depressing.  Fortunately, there is some humor in…

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 24: “Alternative Ulster”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 24: “Alternative Ulster” by Stiff Little Fingers Finishing up St. Patrick’s Day with this uprising in music by Ireland’s premier punk rock band.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 23: “Bad”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 23. “Bad” by U2 I couldn’t get through the day without posting a U2 song, even though I’ve never been a huge fan.  This song about heroin addicts in Dublin is a powerful example of their early work in…

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 20: “Dreams”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 20. “Dreams” by The Cranberries The ethereal vocals of Dolores O’Riordan are one of the defining sounds of 90s alternative music.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 19: “The Drunken Piper”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 19. “The Drunken Piper” by Natalie MacMaster w/ Cookie Rankin Sure, this is a Scottish tune by way of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, but you’re three sheets to the wind by now and who can deny the fine…

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 18: “”Funky Céilí”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 18. “Funky Céilí” by Black 47 Black 47 brought Celtic punk with a socialist-leaning political bent to New York, although they could still party.  Still one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.    

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 16: “Marble Halls”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 16. “Marble Halls” by Enya Written by Irish composer Michael William Balfe for the 1843 opera The Bohemian Girl, the words to this tune appear in James Joyce’s works.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 15: “Missing You”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 15. “Missing You” by Christy Moore I could probably post 24 tunes by Christy Moore alone, but this plaintive cry of the Irish emigrant will have to suffice.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 14: “A Nation Once Again”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 14. “A Nation Once Again” by The Wolfe Tones Irish voters once gamed a BBC poll to get this declared the world’s most popular song.  It’s certainly stirring, and I always liked it as a kid when my folks…

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 13: “Only Shallow”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 13. “Only Shallow” by My Bloody Valentine Oh, you thought this was going to be all fiddles & pipes and jigs & reels, but no, the Irish also pioneered shoegaze!  

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 12: “The Parting Glass”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 12. “The Parting Glass” by Liam Clancy This is the song I want played at my funeral.  I would post the Revels version if I could find it online, but my fellow Liam does a good rendition as well.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 11: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 11. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys I’m not a fan of Dropkick Murphys but I make an exception for this song because 1) the lyrics are by Woody Guthrie, 2) it’s about Boston, and 3) it’s…

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 10: “Song For Ireland”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 10. “Song of Ireland” by Dick Gaughan My favorite rendition of this song.  His voice paints a picture of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic.

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 9: “The Star of the County Down”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 9. “The Star of the County Down” by The Chieftains and Van Morrison The great popularizers of Irish trad and Ireland’s most noted rock & roll singer/songwriter join together on this traditional ballad.  

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 8: “Stories”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 8. “Stories” by Maura O’Connell A beautiful vocal interpretation in the contemporary folk style.  

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 7: “The Cobbler”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour. 7. “The Cobbler” by Tommy Makem A powerful voice and a great stage presence rooted in the folk tradition.