Episode 7 - Invented Heroes
If Herosongs are about passing on a version of history there is also another strand of songs which create fictional characters who often became confused in our collective memory. Is Willie McBride the sung hero of the song
‘No Man’s Land’ real or made up? Did Molly Malone exist? Do herosongs create their own version of events?
Some of the most popular songs in the Irish traditional canon feature in episode seven of Herosongs. Presenter Therese McIntyre takes listeners through the history behind songs like the unofficial Dublin anthem ‘Cockles and Mussels’ about fishmonger Molly Malone and the song most people associate with sporting events, ‘The Fields of Athenry’ about a man called Michael set during the Great Famine during 1845-1850.
Therese gets the views of some of these songs from members of the general public in Dublin and in her hometown of Galway. She also explores the song that was a number one hit in Ireland for The Furey Brothers ‘The Green Fields of France’ and speaks with the composer Eric Bogle about writing the song originally titled ‘No Man’s Land’; "I’ve tried to get the emotion across the emotion of sorrow and loss and anger, you know and question, why did this all happen and why did all the young men have to die."
In this episode we also hear from professor Mike Cronin of Boston College Ireland, song collector and singer John Moulden and sean nós singer Noirin Ní Riain introduces us to a very different version of the song ‘Cockles and Mussels’.