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Wearing of the Green, The

(Traditional/Dion Boucicault/James Oswald)

This song was originally a street ballad written in Ireland at the beginning of the 1800s by an unknown author and the music was a march originally called “The Tulip” written by a Scottish musician, James Oswald, in 1747.

It was incorporated into the play Arrah na Pogue (Exchange for Kisses), that was seen in Dublin in 1864 and in New York in 1865, by the Irish playwright Dion Boucoicualt, who re-wrote the lyrics at the suggestion of his mother as a protest against the British who made a law making the growing of shamrock a crime and were executing people who wore green as they deemed them traitors.  The feelings it would stir up in people would result in Dion Boucicault having to leave Ireland, although he would return there several years later before finally emigrating to the United States.

The song was recorded in 1912 by the tenor John McCormack and in the 1950s the composer Leroy Anderson arranged the music for inclusion in his Irish Suite.  The Scots also still make use of this melody in their song “Sae Will We Yet” which is traditionally played at the end of the day.

Boston Pops Orchestra recordings
RCA 60746-2-RG (CD: Irish Night at the Pops)
Conductor – Arthur Fiedler

Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra recordings
Mercury 434 376-2 (CD: Fennell Conducts the Music Of Leroy Anderson and Eric Coates)
Conductor  – Frederick Fennell

Richard Hayman and His Orchestra recordings
Naxos 8.555016 (CD: Irish Rhapsody)

Naxos 8.990018 (CD: Irish Rhapsody)