Saint Patrick's Day
DESCRIPTION: Ask Patrick's protection. He secured Ireland's faith for the Catholic church. We pray for his support for Irish independence. In 1800 Pitt managed parliament's dissolution. Our champions now are Dan O'Connell, Shiel, and tithe opponent Fergus O'Connor.
KEYWORDS: Ireland nonballad political religious
1759-1806 - Life of William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister 1783-1801 and from 1804 until his death
1775-1847 - Life of Daniel O'Connell
1794-1855 - life of Fergus (Feargus) O'Connor
1798 - United Irish rebellion causes England to decide on Union with Ireland
1800 - Act of Union passed by British and Irish parliaments, causing a parliamentary Union to take effect in 1801
Bodleian, Harding B 25(75), "St. Patrick's Day" ("Ye sons of this lovely but ill fated nation"), unknown, n.d.
NOTES: The form and last line of each verse suggest that the tune is "St Patrick's Day in the Morning."
Broadside Bodleian Harding B 25(75) is the basis for the description.
The reference .".. our noble parliament then was dismembered ... pitt managed ...."[The broadside misses capitalization throughout] is to the 1801 "Act of Union" -- supported by Pitt and Robert Stewart (Lord Castlereagh) -- that formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" and abolished the Dublin Parliament. (sources: Britain and Ireland by Marjie Bloy on the Victorian Web site;Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh on the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos site)
The reference to tithe opposition suggests a date for this broadside before the end of "The Tithe War." Daniel O'Connell's Catholic Association was formed in 1823 to resist the requirement that Irish Catholics pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. The "war" was passive for most of the period 1823-1836, though there were violent incidents in 1831 (source: The Irish Tithe War 1831 at the OnWar.com site)
Shiel in this broadside is probably Richard Lalor Sheil, one of O'Connells lieutenants (see Zimmermann, p. 256). - BS
Fergus O'Connor was elected M.P. for Cork in 1832 and 1835 and, in 1832, was involved in passing the Reform Act. (sources: Zimmermann p. 212, "Feargus O'Connor (1794-1855)" at the BBC site) - BS
It should be noted that Saint Patrick did *not* secure Ireland for the Catholic Church -- that, in fact, was done by the English, who suppressed the practices of the Celtic Church; Henry II invaded, with the consent of Pope Adrian IV in the bull Laudabiliter (Fry/Fry, pp. 67-72; Golway, pp. 10-12). Patrick helped bring Christianity to Ireland in the sixth century (OxfordCompanion, p. 434), but distance from Rome had caused the local version to drift far from the Roman standard (something which had, incidentally, happened in England also, though England, being closer to Rome, had regularized things at the Synod of Whitby centuries before).
Despite the fact that, were Patrick around today, he would be labelled at least a schismatic and probably a heretic by the Catholic church, he was venerated from a very early period; the first hymn to him appears to date from the seventh century, i.e. within about a hundred years of when he was active (OxfordCompanion, p. 434). But OxfordCompanion, p. 66, notes that Saint Patrick's Day, although rooted in church custom, came to be primarily political.
For the Irish parliament destroyed by the Act of Union, see especially "Ireland's Glory." For the Act of Union itself, see "The Wheels of the World" and also "The Shan Van Voght (1848)." For Daniel O'Connell, see "Daniel O'Connell (II)" plus the many songs cited under "Daniel O'Connell (I)." For Fergus O'Connor, see "Fergus O'Connor and Independence." - RBW
Last updated in version 2.5
- Fry/Fry: Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry, A History of Ireland, 1988 (I use the 1993 Barnes & Noble edition)
- Golway: Terry Golway, For the Cause of Liberty, Simon & Schuster, 2000
- OxfordCompanion: S. J. Connolly, editor, The Oxford Companion to Irish History, Oxford, 1998.
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.