wearing of the green

wearing of the green

“The Wearing of the Green” is an Irish street ballad lamenting the repression of supporters of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It is to an old Irish air, and many versions of the lyric exist, the best-known being by Dion Boucicault. The song proclaims that “they are hanging men and women for the wearing of the green”.

The revolutionary Society of United Irishmen adopted green as its colour, and supporters wore green-coloured garments, ribbons, or cockades. In some versions, the “green” being worn is shamrock rather than fabric.

Wearing of the Green
Wearing of the Green

Napper Tandy was a popular hero who was memorialized in the Irish ballad “The Wearing of the Green”

I met with Napper Tandy, And he took me by the hand, And he said “How’s poor old Ireland, And how does she stand?”

Napper Tandy

Napper Tandy was a popular hero who was memorialized in the Irish ballad “The Wearing of the Green”

Napper Tandy
Napper Tandy

I met with Napper Tandy, And he took me by the hand, And he said “How’s poor old Ireland, And how does she stand?”

Read More about Napper Tandy - Today in Celtic History

“The Wearing of the Green” Lyrics

  • Oh, Paddy dear, did you hear the news that’s going ‘round?

  • The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground

  • Saint Patrick’s Day no more to keep, his color can’t be seen

  • For there’s a bloody law again’ the Wearing of the Green.

  • I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand

  • And he said, “How’s poor old Ireland and how does she stand?”

  • “She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

  • For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.”

  • She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

  • For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

  • Then since the color we must wear is England’s cruel red

  • Sure Ireland’s sons will never forget the blood that they have shed

  • You may pull the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod

  • But ’twill take root and flourish there, though underfoot ’tis trod.

  • When laws can stop the blades of grass for growing as they grow

  • And when the leaves in summertime their verdure dare not show

  • Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen *

  • But ’til that day, please God, I’ll stick to Wearing of the Green.

  • She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

  • For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

  • But if at last our color should be torn from Ireland’s heart

  • Her sons, with shame and sorrow, from the dear old Isle will part

  • I’ve heard a whisper of a land that lies beyond the sea

  • Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of Freedom’s day.

  • Ah, Erin, must we leave you, driven by a tyrant’s hand

  • Must we seek a mother’s blessing from a strange and distant land

  • Where the cruel cross of England shall never more be seen

  • And where, please God, we’ll live and die, still Wearing of the Green.

  • She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

  • For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

  • “Caubeen” is an Irish word for a certain type of hat, similar to a beret.
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