I first heard "The Irish Soldiers" on a Clancy Brothers LP
"In Person at Carnegie Hall"
A Man of double deed
When I was young
The Wren Song
The version I sing can be found in their
The Irish Songbook
For me this is a terrific song "with actions" and I love performing it. As I am just one person, I have to be pretty energetic as I play both the Irish and the English soldiers. For those that don't know, the song is about a nice little conflict between Irish and English soldiers whereby, starting with the English, they manage to lose one eye. In retaliation, the Irish lose two eyes. As the song progresses, each side loses ever more vital limbs until ultimately we have the Irish soldiers lying dead on the ground (but still strenuously singing!), eyeless, armless and legless. The punch line is that the "dead" Irish spring up singing "Now we are alive again for we are the Irish soldiers!. It's great fun and there is always much laughter.