Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad

Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad

by Malachy McCourt


View All Available Formats & Editions


Everyone can hum this haunting Irish ballad that inevitably brings a tear to the eye. The most requested Irish song, it has been recorded by a variety of performers ranging from Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, and Kate Smith to the Pogues. The complete story of this moving tune has been shrouded in mystery until now. Where did "Danny Boy" originate, who actually wrote the lyrics, and is it even Irish? Acclaimed novelist, actor, memoirist, screenwriter, playwright, and raconteur, Malachy McCourt, turns his Irish eye to the song's complex history and myths in an eloquent ode to this classic. He traces the evolution of the music, which is one of more than 100 songs composed to the very same tune, including the familiar "Londonderry Air," and explores the enduring mystique of "Danny Boy" in an unforgettable tribute that brilliantly weaves history with folklore.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762411245
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date: 12/28/2001
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

County Limerick native Malachy McCourt is the authority to tell the history of Ireland. He has written several books, including the best-selling A Monk Swimming, Singing My Him Song, Danny Boy, Voices of Ireland, and The Claddagh Ring. Complementing his literary work, McCourt is also a skilled actor. He appeared in the television series Oz and in feature films such as The Bonfire of the Vanities. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

An Ave there for me: The Melody6
From glen to glen: Lyrics Meet Melody22
The pipes are calling: The Questions40
The valley's hushed and white with snow: The Land of Derry56
Tell me that you love me: The Pop History of "Danny Boy"72
Epilogue: In sunshine or in shadow: What Does It All Mean?80
Our fallen heroes90

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
burningtodd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finished on St. Patties Day. An interesting little book. Full of history and thoughts about this popular song. A bit dry, and a bit light, but a good and interesting none the less. I liked it a bunch. The music is old and the author unknown, but believed to be a Scottish melody and the lyrics were written by Fred Weatherly a British Lawyer in the 1930¿s.
BeaverMeyer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't believe someone would write a whole book (albeit a short one) on such an uninteresting subject. Why'd I buy it, you ask? I was going through an irish history phase and it was $1.99 in the bargain bin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't expect much when I purchased this book and I wasn't disappointed. The author had a difficult time not only with history but with being able to fill this small book. I was surprised at the lack of editing. On page 130 of an Irish History timeline, the author has the important battle at Kinsale in 1593. I wonder why the town and Irish academia have just completed in December 2001 symposiums on the 400th anniversary of the battle.On page 138, a date on the timeline is inverted. I felt like the author needed to publish something and that the book was the hasty result. The book was disjointed, unorganized and everything seemed like an attempt to fill the book including several blank pages in the middle of the book.