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Whack Fol the Diddle (God Bless England)

Peadar Kearney [Peadar Ó Cearnaígh]
Language: English

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Related Songs

Brennan on the Moor
(The Clancy Brothers)
Long Kesh
(Belfast)
Birmingham Six
(The Pogues)


Irish Songs of Rebellion

This song depicts England as a caring mother who looked after her rebellious children. Regardless of their misbehaviour, she was always around to comfort and guide her impetuous bunch of kids. Eventually the juveniles reach adulthood and they surprise their mother with civilised behaviour.

On the face of it Whack Fol The Diddle is just a rather sarcastic song, but we have to wonder whether Peadar Kearney, the writer who also wrote A Soldiers Song, would agree with this assessment.
Self-mockery, sarcasm and a sense for understatement was not uncommon for Peadar Kearney. In the song The Row In The Town for example he compares the Easter Rising, in which he had participated, with a row in the town indeed. Nevertheless the storyline of Whack Fol The Diddle is surprising, because Kearney followed his personal friend Michael Collins in the Civil War and joined the Free Staters. Their opponents, the Irregulars, accused the Free Staters of ignoring their Irishness and to come up to Britain's expectations.

Recorded by: The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem and The Wolfhound
www.triskelle.eu
I'll sing you a song of peace and love,
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
To the land that reigns all lands above.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
May peace and plenty be her share
Who kept our homes from want and care,
God bless Mother England is our prayer.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.

Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
So we say, Hip Hooray!
Come and listen while we pray.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.

When we were savage, fierce and wild
She came like a mother to her child.
She gently raised us from the slime
Kept our hands from hellish crime,
And sent us to Heaven in her own good time.

Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
So we say, Hip Hooray!
Come and listen while we pray.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.

Now our fathers oft were very bad boys.
Guns and pikes are dangerous toys.
From Bearna Baol to Bunker Hill
They made poor England weep her fill,
But ould Brittania loves us still!

Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
So we say, Hip Hooray!
Come and listen while we pray.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.

Now Irishmen, forget the past!
And think of the time that's coming fast.
When we shall all be civilized,
Neat and clean and well-advised.
And won't Mother England be surprised?

Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
So we say, Hip Hooray!
Come and listen while we pray.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.

Contributed by DonQuijote82 - 2011/4/9 - 12:11


I think you are missing the irony of the lyrics. However, you are not alone in that as when the song was originally published quite a few patriots took offence at the chorus.
Thanks for your site

Mooney - 2020/1/22 - 07:27


I agree with Mooney's comment. The whole sonng is ironic...... with "Mother England" trying to keep control of her "naughty boys" whether they want it or no....

The words are not "From Bearna Baol to Bunker Hill", but "From Bhéal an Átha Bui to Pieter’s Hill". Bearna Bhaoil is in the National Anthem, but just means "Gap of Danger"... and why would BUnker Hill be referenced?

The first (Bhéal an Átha Bui) refers to the Battle of the Yellow Ford (1598), an Irish victory over English forces in the Nine Year's War.

The second (Pieter's Hill) is a reference to the battle of Collenso (1900) during the Boer War, where the Irish Transvaal Brigade, fighting for the Boers, caused serious casualties on the British side.

Macliam - 2020/1/28 - 22:19


Yes this is brillliant Irish irony. I first heard Liam Clancy sing it with his brothers and Tommy Maken in the 60's.
RIP to all of them. Later The Dubliners sang it on occasion.
And now The Mary Wallopers have it.
Personally I prefer the Mary Wallopers version.

Any Irishman should proudly sing this song. My english friends really enjoy it when I sing it.
We as a nation should never hide behind political correctness. We stand by our past both good and bad it is our heritage.

2020/4/20 - 19:46



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