Father's Day History: Irish Fathers in Story and Song

Father's Day, according to scholars may be traced to the ruins of Babylon where they have recorded that a young boy called Elmesu carved a Father's Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. Elmesu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life. Although there is no record of what happened to Elmesu and his father, some history books note that the tradition of celebrating Father's Day occurred in many countries all over the world.

The first Father's Day was first celebrated in America on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington due to an American lady, Sonora Smart Dodd, who wanted to honor her Father William Smart, a sergeant in the Union's First Arkansas Light Artillery during the Civil War, who raised six children as a single parent. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a presidential proclamation in 1966 declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's day. President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June each year in 1972.

The Irish and Irish-Americans have often celebrated their fathers in song and story. Here are some nominations in movies and song:

6) ‘Drunken Irish Dad’ from ‘Family Guy’. Although it’s stereotypical, this is after all, the character of Peter Griffin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCwGVlQ_eQo

5) Gene Kelly singing ‘The Hat My Dear Old Father Wore’ in the movie ‘Take me out to the ballgame. Gotta love the oldies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KH7E5rC...

4) Ronnie Drew singing ‘The Old Man’ from the 1979 album ‘Together Again’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qMPhR4q...

3) The 1988 movie ‘Da’ by Hugh Leonard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oYjJTTE...

2) The 1994 movie ‘In The Name Of The Father’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1VcwIncgYs

1) My all time favorite is ‘The Furey Brothers’ singing ‘The Old Man’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JCSaBYY...

What's yours??

Image © The Graphics Fairy 2007 http://thegraphicsfairy.com/free-vintage-fathers-day-clip-art/

Views: 1730

Comment by Jim Curley on June 9, 2013 at 3:36pm

My favorite is "A Prince Among Men" ("Only A Miner") by Patrick Street.

Everytime I hear it, I think of my dad, who came to America and worked as a trolley driver, later a bus driver, to give his five children, all boys, a college education. Pop, you were a prince among men.

His dad was a miner and his granddad was too
There was never much question about what he might do
By the age of thirteen he had laid down his pen
And become a coal-miner and a prince among men.

My goal as a young lad from a bright early age
Was to follow my hero down in that cage
Fairy lights and Pit Ponies were the stuff of my dreams
Never thinking how hard my dad worked at the seam

Only a miner killed under the ground
Only a miner and one more is found
Killed by accident no one can tell
Your mining's all over, poor miner, farewell.

Dad worked like a Trojan his money to save
I'm afraid that he worked himself into his grave
And my schooling was paid at the cost of his lungs
Dad was an old man at the age of forty-one.

I never will forget how his face lit with pride
When I got my diploma, he was there by my side
And I try to remember him as he was then
A rare moment of joy for a prince among men.

A gold watch and chain inscribed James Doyle
Never seemed much reward for a life of such toil
But I keep his lamp burning and his old union card
And his bones rest here in this sunlit graveyard.

My dad was a miner and a prince among men
Well loved by his wife and his family and friends
And his hardship and toil gave me the one chance I had
And generations of slavery died with my dad.

Founding Member
Comment by Nollaig 2016 on June 9, 2013 at 4:46pm

Lovely song Jim.  Posted in videos.  

Comment by Jim Curley on June 9, 2013 at 8:48pm

Appreciate you doing that, Belinda.  Putting a video on a site is a skill I have yet to master.

I never hear Andy Irvine sing that song without getting a lump in my throat.


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