An international brand resource for neighbourhoods, towns, cities, regions and economic clusters.

Famous in song and story II

Posted by Claire Matthews

From Peoria we turn to Tipperary, made famous in the World War I song “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary.” In fact, it wasn’t originally a war song – it was written before the war, in 1912, and sung first in music halls. One of the composers had Irish grandparents, and that's where the reference to Tipperary came from. Alas, nobody really had a true love living there.

When the Connaught Rangers, an Irish Regiment, sang it while marching through a town in France (its rhythm makes it the perfect marching song) it quickly caught on with the public.In previous wars, the popular songs had incited soldiers to do brave deeds and carry the flag high, but the hardships of World War One generated songs that spoke of the soldiers’ longing for home. This song, and the beautiful ballad “Keep the Home Fires Burning” were typical in that way. Of course, soldiers being what they are (that is, mostly young men), a rude version of the song was devised, substituting “That’s the wrong way to tickle Mary” for the famous line in the chorus.

Tipperary is a county seat in Ireland, and embraces its place in song: on the way into to town, signs proclaim “Welcome to Tipperary. You’ve Come a Long Way." Interestingly, Tipperary has been featured in other songs as well. It must be something about that lilting name.

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