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by Linda Ryan

March 16, 2014

Irish Rebel Songs

by Linda Ryan  |  March 16, 2014

Whether singing about the famine, the 1916 Easter Rebellion or the atrocities committed during Ireland's Civil Rights movement of the early '70s, the Irish know how to craft a rebel song. With humor that belies an acerbic tone, tales of hardship, betrayal, murder and deceit -- as well as stories of heroic acts, solidarity and true, everlasting love -- have, for centuries, been the voice of Ireland's people.

Traditionally, the oral history of Ireland and its warriors had been passed down from generation to generation through its bards, whose job was to orally chronicle the traditions and historical contributions of the major clans of Eire. Although a few songs deal with such historical/mythological figures as Cú Chulainn, the topics of Irish rebel songs generally fall under four umbrellas: the famine, the Easter Rising, the resulting civil war, and the '70s Civil Rights movement -- aka "The Troubles."

More recently, bands such as The Pogues, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys have turned in revved-up, punk-ish versions of many Irish rebel songs, introducing them to a whole new generation. Hit play and enjoy some of the best rebel songs Ireland has to offer up ... just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

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