Tag Archives: Saint Patrick’s Day

“Raglan Road,” Van Morrison and Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh poems
If I had to think about it—which I don’t—I guess I would say that Van Morrison is my favorite Irish singer. And if forced to choose—which I’m not—I suppose I’d name Patrick Kavanagh as my favorite Irish poet.

Morrison and Kavanagh meet and shake hands, figuratively speaking, when Van sings “Raglan Road,” a poem that Kavanagh wrote for the old Irish air, The Dawning of the Day. It’s available on Van’s classic album with the Chieftains, Irish Heartbeat, and can currently be heard via the YouTube clip below. Continue reading “Raglan Road,” Van Morrison and Patrick Kavanagh

The Cinch Review

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Saint Patrick's DayHere’s to Saint Patrick, a great Welshman (or so I was told as a lad) who tried mightily to save the Irish.

The tune to “Be Thou My Vision” is known as “Slane,” and is associated with a moment in history when Saint Patrick lit a fire on a hill in pagan Ireland—the hill of Slane—in defiance of the customs of the time, in order to mark the Christian holy day of Easter. His bravery was met with a success that put him in the history books and makes him the subject of parades in countless cities across the world. Many Christians today exhibit similar bravery and find merely death—in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and North Korea—but their hope is in something far beyond the acceptance of men.

Surely no one has sung it better than Van the man.

(Available on Van Morrison’s album, Hymns to the Silence.)

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be thou my armor, and be thou my might
Thou my sole shelter, and thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenwards, O power of my power


The Cinch Review

“The Broad Majestic Shannon” sung by Liam Clancy

There could hardly be a better way to shed a sentimental tear on St. Patrick’s Day (known to the sensitive and inclusive as “O’Green Day”) than to listen to the late, great Liam Clancy sing “The Broad Majestic Shannon.” (Clip via YouTube below.) That’s a song written by the great but—somewhat surprisingly—still vivacious Shane MacGowan, of Pogues fame.

Another favorite Shane MacGowan tear-jerker of mine is “Rainy Night in Soho.” (Clip via YouTube below.) Continue reading “The Broad Majestic Shannon” sung by Liam Clancy

The Cinch Review

Saint Patrick’s Day: One Irish Rover

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit.

It came as news to me today that there are now (unofficial) Van Morrison clips on YouTube again. Perhaps only for a time, although the one below has been there for five months. It’s an acoustic duet with Bob Dylan on Van’s song, One Irish Rover. Done for a British documentary show in the 1980s, it’s very rough, but has a certain sweet quality.

Tell me you see the light
Tell me you know me
Make it come out alright
And wrap it in glory
For one Irish rover

Originally from ornery ol’ Van’s rather sterling long playing record: No Guru No Method No Teacher