Thursday, July 31, 2008

Green and Red of Mayo



The song "Green and Red of Mayo" is preformed by the Saw Doctors. The song describes in beauty a county in Ireland and the longing people have had for it. The lyrics are below and an unofficial music video is above. After you listen to song, scroll down for a discussion on the meaning and place.

Oh the Green and Red of Mayo
I can see it still
It's soft and craggy bog lands
It's tall majestic hills
Where the ocean kisses Ireland
And the waves caress its shore
Oh the feeling it came over me
To stay forever more
Forever more

From its rolling coastal waters
I can see Croagh Patrick's peak
Where one Sunday every Summer
The pilgrims climb the reek
Where Saint Patrick in his solitude
Looked down across Clew Bay
And with a ringing of his bell
Called the faithful there to pray
There to pray

Oh take me to Clare Island
The home of Gráinne Mhaol
Its waters harbour fishes
From the herring to the whale
And now I must depart it
And reality is plain
May the time not pass so slowly
'fore I set sail again
Set sail again

The Green and Red of Mayo
I can see it still
Its soft and craggy bog lands
Its tall majestic hills
Where the ocean kisses Ireland
And the waves caress its shore
The feeling it came over me
To stay forever more
Forever more



County Mayo is in western Ireland along the coast of the Atlantic. Many of the former residents emigrated to England and the United States. Many songs of Mayo are nostalgic while taking pride in its wonders.

The geography of Mayo is filled with bogs, mountains, hills, and green landscape. The cultural landscape is Gaelic Catholic. The county is beautiful.

Croagh Patrick is a mountain in Mayo where legend has it Saint Patrick fasted for forty days. At the end of the fast he threw a bell down the hill and banished all snakes from the island. Today pilgrims climb the hill every summer solstice in honor of Saint Patrick.

Clare Island is along the Atlantic coast and is homed to the female pirate Grace O'Malley who remains one of the heroes of Ireland. The pirate led raids against the English occupation of the Ireland.

The Saw Doctors song ends with them leaving Mayo like the emigrants before. But like those of old, there is pride and the happy desire to return.

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