A BBC Radio Ulster production

In this, the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme in WW1, BBC Radio Ulster's Gerry Kelly goes on a personal journey to discover the story behind his favourite song, The Green Fields of France

Made famous by The Furey's and Davey Arthur, and recorded by a host of musicians down the years, The Green Fields of France is also known as No Man’s Land or Willie McBride. It was written by the Scottish folk songwriter Eric Bogle, who penned it after visiting the military cemeteries in Flanders and Northern France and seeing all the young soldiers headstones. It's now one of the most enduring anti-war songs of the twentieth century, and has a particular significance in Ireland. 

In an attempt to understand more about World War One, and to discover who the real Willie McBride was, Gerry Kelly travels to France and comes face-to-face with the same scenes that inspired the song’s writer, Eric Bogle.

Gerry Kelly said: “Here is a song which has long been close to my heart and as I listen to it now I am filled with the same emotion as I felt when I first heard it over 30 years ago.” 

Narrated by Gerry Kelly.

Produced by Cameron Mitchell.

First Broadcast on RTÉ - Saturday September 24th @2pm, RTÉ Radio 1, repeated Sunday September 25th @7pm, RTÉ Radio 1.

“Documentary on One - the home of radio documentaries in Ireland”.