Four Green Fields

Tommy Makem

“What did I have?”, said the fine old woman
“What did I have?”, this proud old woman did say
“I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine, strong sons, they fought to save my jewels
They fought and died and that was my grief”, said she

“Long time ago”, said the fine old woman
“Long time ago”, this proud old woman did say
“There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved by mountain, valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood”, said she

“What have I now?”, said the fine old woman
“What have I now?”, this proud old woman did say
“I have four green fields, one of them’s in bondage
In strangers hands that tried to take it from me
But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers
My fourth green field will bloom once again”, said she

The idea of using a secret name for Ireland goes back hundreds of years. The song expresses a deep love of country – the old woman being Ireland, and her four green fields the provinces of Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaught.