Song of the Day, December 30: Erin-Go-Bragh by Dick Gaughan

GaughanErinToday’s song is the stirring opener to Dick Gaughan’s classic Handful of Earth. Erin-Go-Bragh is an old traditional song [Roud 1627] featuring a bold character who is proud of his heritage. It reflects the tensions within the different cultures of the British Isles, as Peter Hall has noted:

As well as being about anti-Irish feeling this song emphasises the contrast between the east and the west of Scotland, when inhabitants of the latter can be mistaken for foreigners by natives of the capital, Edinburgh.

With a simple fiddle, whistle, and guitar accompaniment, Gaughan captures the austere spirit of the highlands and the fierce independence of the central character. It’s also deeply personal for the singer.

Being brought up with  Irish grandparents and a Highland Scots mother, I find the irony of the song the best antidote to racism.

Enjoy this powerful song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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