St. Patrick’s Day is associated with anything Irish:  harp music,  green, shamrocks,  luck,  singing and dancing.  The intended meaning of St. Patrick’s Day was to honor Saint Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.  Many people celebrate its intended meaning by going to mass, offering prayers for missionaries before celebrating.

One of the most popular American Irish songs is Danny Boy. It’s often the first song we think of on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also sung and played on the harp at many Irish funerals.  Danny Boy isn’t  really an Irish tune. It was written by an English lawyer, Frederick Weatherly, in 1910. Weatherly later added the words to an old melody, Air From County Derry, (Londonderry Air) and this is the classic song everyone knows today.

What is the meaning of the lyrics to Danny Boy?  Some think it’s about an Irish father watching his son go off to war expecting that he will be gone, (Dead).  Others believe it is about the IRA going to battle, or a mother who is ill saying goodbye as her son leaves for the states.  Is the real meaning a love song from a woman to man?  The lyrics seem to have several meanings and the Irish think of this song as one of their own.

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and fine the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warn and sweeter be
If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.



  1. Harp music really is a big part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! Well, it’s a big part of anything Irish as well.

  2. Yes, and everyone loves Danny Boy – Irish or not.