The meaning behind "Danny Boy"

Chances are, if you go out to celebrate St. Patrick's day, somewhere you're going to hear the popular Irish song "O Danny Boy," a favorite on that day.

Chances are also very good that due to the raucous crowd at the pub you are in, you will only hear snatches of the lyrics. Impress your friends with the following Irish info.

The Irish are known as a joyous, fun-loving people. But make no mistake, "Danny Boy" is in fact a sorrowful, remorseful, lament.

One theory of the meaning behind the song suggests that it is set during the potato famine. The lyric "The pipes are calling from glen to glen..." refers to the bagpipes signaling the people that the immigration boat is here and it's time to say goodbye.

Danny boy is saying goodbye, probably forever. The woman to whom he is singing the lament could be his lover or perhaps his mother.

She knows that he must go and she must "bide." She tells him if he ever comes back, be it in the summer or winter, she will probably be dead (from the famine) so he should say an Ave Maria prayer over her grave.

"O Danny Boy, I love you so..."

Dave scullin


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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 03.05.2013