Theresa O’Connor

Tommy Makem, the Bard of Armagh

Tommy Makem died yesterday.

A lot of people don’t realize just how many “traditional” Irish songs were actually written by Tommy Makem at some point in his long, illustrious career. He wrote “The Four Green Fields,” “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” and many other amazing songs.

I thought I’d remember him today with this song, “Isn’t It Grand, Boys?” which he helped make famous with the Clancy Brothers.

Look at the coffin
With golden handles
Isn’t it grand, boys
To be bloody well dead
Let’s not have a sniffle
Let’s have a bloody good cry
And always remember the longer you live
The sooner you bloody will die

Oh look at the mourners
Bloody great hypocrites!
Isn’t it grand boys
To be bloody well dead
Let’s not have a sniffle
Let’s have a bloody good cry
And always remember the longer you live
The sooner you bloody will die

Look at the flowers
All bloody withered
Isn’t it grand boys
To be bloody well dead
Let’s not have a sniffle
Let’s have a bloody good cry
And always remember the longer you live
The sooner you bloody will die

Look at the preacher
Bloody nice fellow
Isn’t it grand boys
To be bloody well dead
Let’s not have a sniffle
Let’s have a bloody good cry
And always remember the longer you live
The sooner you bloody will die

Look at the widow
Bloody great female
Isn’t it grand boys
To be bloody well dead
Let’s not have a sniffle
Let’s have a bloody good cry
And always remember the longer you live
The sooner you bloody will die