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The St. Patrick's Day Special

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The Spirit Within
St. Patrick's Day Special

This broadcast was produced for National Public Radio in 1998 with the help of CMU Public Broadcasting, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI.  We wish to thank them for making this possible.

Danny Boy and The Story of St. Patrick have been excerpted from this broadcast and are available as separate files you can email to your friends as St. Pat greetings.  


Our guest host for this broadcast is Nina Nash-Robertson, Director of Choral Activities at Central Michigan University and Irish immigrant.  She will be providing Irish history, color, music and stories from the land of the shamrock. 


Introductory Theme: Catoctin Daybreak (R. Aldridge) (Available on Earth Remembers CD)
Road to Listoonvarna
(Available on Earth's Essence CD)
Foggy Dew
(Available on Earth's Essence CD)
The Story of St. Patrick
(story - read text)
Come Back Paddy Reilly
(Percy French) (words and biography)
Believe Me Those Endearing Young Charms
(Robert Moore) (words and biography)
The Little Red Hat
(story - read text)
Danny Boy
(Available - instrumental only - on Celtic Portrait CD) (words & history)
Lord Mayo
(Available on Celtic Portrait CD)
Star of the County Down
(Available on Celtic Portrait CD)
Closing Theme: Lament
(T. Patterson)

Performing artists for this broadcast

You can send The Story of St. Patrick  as audio email greeting card.

Written by G. Wakenhut


Photo: Sr. Julia Mohr

A beautiful spring morning opened as the sun broke through the dreary damp clouds which had covered the harbor in Wales for so many days. It was the beginning of the 5th century, and much of the British Isles was occupied and ruled by the Romans.

16 year old Maewyn was the son of Calphurnius, a high Roman official in Wales. Their family lived a rich and noble life. Maewyn had little responsibility and spent most of his time watching the boats and sailors from many lands as they came and went from the harbor.

Photo: Sr. Julia Mohr

This morning, he was taking in the warmth of the sun, lying on the hill high above the harbor. His mind was engrossed by the freedom of birds as they explored the currents of air along the cliffs, and the essence of spring was present in the beautiful smell of the delicate yellow flowers around him.

& Fear

Maeywn's curiosity was drawn to a fleet of small ships sailing through the narrows and dropping anchor in the harbor. But something seemed unusual and wrong. He realized the ships were not friendly.

Fearing for his family, he ran down the hill toward their home as the warriors began looting and burning the town. Even with the energy and strength of a sixteen year old, he was no match for the invaders, and he soon found himself bound with course ropes and thrown into the bottom of a boat. The speech of his kidnappers told him he was a captive of warriors from Ireland.

After a few hours in the hold with the sea tossing him about, he was brought on deck to discover a strange land. Instead of recognizing beautiful buildings and homes with paved streets and people with his religious beliefs, he found the gloom of mud huts and a primitive people dressed in dirty animal skins and worshiping Pagan deities.

Life as a Slave

Because of his age and strength, Maewyn was sold to a king in Northern Ireland. His next six years were spent wearing a sheepskin tunic with a shaved head, the marks of a shepherd slave. Lacking the comforts and pleasures of his home in Wales, Maewyn's new existence was an important next step for his future.

Photo: Sr. Julia Mohr

He was forced to live a life of isolation in the wild. He found himself becoming spiritually in tune with the wholeness of the earth, and he turned more and more to meditation and prayer to fill his lonely hours.

After several years of this deprivation, he experienced a vision that told him he would escape on a boat. Walking 2 hundred miles to the south, he found a boat leaving for Wales. Homecoming was a unbelievable shock. Wales was in ruins, and there was no sign of the Roman culture in which he had been raised.

to Others

Then Maewyn had another vision, and he felt the people of Ireland calling him back to help them. To answer this call, he undertook 20 years of training studying the scriptures, administration skills, and construction techniques so he might return to Ireland as a Catholic bishop.



You can send The Story of St. Patrick  as audio email greeting card.


Come Back Patty Reilly
Percy French

The Garden of Eden has vanished they say
But I know the lie of it still.
Just turn to the left at the bridge of Finea
And stop when halfway to Cootehill.
'Tis there I will find it I know sure enough
When fortune has come to my call,
Oh the grass it is green around Ballyjamesduff
And the blue sky is over it all.
And tones that are tender and tones that are gruff,
Are whispering over the sea,
Come back, Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff,
Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me.

The composer of Come Back Patty Reilly was Percy French.  Born in Ireland in 1854, he studied  civil engineering at Trinity College, but later lost his engineering job and turned to journalism, a career which also failed.


Success was finally his as a song writer and entertainer, touring England, Canada, the US and the West Indies.  One of his first compositions, was the well known Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.  However, an unscrupulous publisher failed to give him credit, and he never received any of its royalties.  He was also recognized as a painter.


Believe Me
If All Those Endearing Young Charms

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms
Which I gaze on so fondly today
Were to change by tomorrow and fleet in my arms
Like fairy gifts fading away.
Thou wouldst still be adored as this moment thou art
Let thy loveliness fade as it will
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known
To which time will but make thee more dear.
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets
But as truly loves on to the close
As the sunflower turns to her God when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose.

Thomas Moore was born in Dublin in 1779, and was one of the first Catholics to be admitted to Trinity College. While he wrote in favor of Irish independence from British control, he still managed to stay in favor with the English. 

In 1799, he went to England to study law and became an immediate social success.  In addition to his work as a political satirist, he also penned many beautiful poems which he set to the old Irish melodies.  He was also recognized as a vocalist and composer.

The theme for this story came from "Celtic Fairy Tales", collected by Joseph Jacobs. The original title was THE FIELD OF BOULIANS, but since we were unable to find out what a boulian was, we let Jack look for the pot of gold under a thorny bush rather than a boulian. Then we changed the title to THE LITTLE RED HAT. 

The photos that accompany this story were taken on our spiritual retreat in Ireland and Scotland in June of 2004.  Much of Ireland's land is small fields divided by thorny hedgerows.  In June these hedgerows were loaded with beautiful blossoms.  The white blossoms are hawthorn and the yellow are gorse.   

  It was in the latter months of the year, and a fine day it was. Tom Fitzpatrick was taking in the beauty of the sun and the warmth of the air as he walked the path in front of him.

When all of a sudden, he heard the strangest tapping sound in the hedge nearby. And stealing along as quietly as the night, Tom moved on the tips of his toes to peer above the hedge to gain sight of this unknown sound.

Now what did he see in the crook of that hedge, but a strange little bucket which would hold about a thimble of brew. And shortly after appeared the tiniest of men wearing a smile drawn within his beard, two sparkling blue eyes, a jaunty red cap, the greenest of coats, little blue pantaloons and many colored socks tucked into shoes with beautiful curved toes.

He sat down on a three-legged stool at a little wooden bench and began crafting a very fine and beautiful shoe.

Well, Tom had heard of Leprechauns, but he didn't believe in them. Well, at least until this moment. He had heard you must never allow your eyes to move from them or they will escape.

So keeping his eyes caught on the little man, Tom drew closer and wished the Leprechaun a good day. But the little fellow failed to return his greeting.

Disregarding the lack of response from the Leprechaun, Tom's curiosity led him to ask, "What's that in your bucket?"

And the little man responded with one very resentful word, "Beer", and Tom again interrupted his work to find where he got it. When the Leprechaun said he himself had made it, Tom, with even more brashness asked what it was made from.

Now, the little man replied this time, with a small twinkle in his blue eyes, "It was made of heath". This set Tom to laughing so hard he fell to the ground almost loosing the little man from his eyes. Tom informed him, "Everyone knows you make beer from malt, not heath".

Pulling Tom along even further, the Leprechaun told of when the Danes had been in Erin and taught the father of his father the secret of making beer from heath.

Then the little man changed the course of conversation by implying Tom should talk care of his own affairs instead of interrupting those of others and reminded Tom of his father's upset should the cows escape and trample the oats and corn.

Such advice almost caused Tom to turn and run away home when he again remembered not to take his eyes from the little man should he escape.

Worried, the Leprechaun might leave, he quickly reached down and grabbed the little man within his hands, and at the same time, spilled the contents of the bucket all over the ground. Upset and angry with himself for he would now not be able to taste it, he suddenly found himself feeling very powerful and extremely greedy. With the wickedest of smiles, he threatened to kill the little leprechaun should he not give him all of his riches.

The little man, being wise with age, told Jack to take him to a field a short ways off where upon they came to the thorniest of bushes and the Leprechaun told Jack to dig there for the pot of gold.

Not having a shovel and knowing he would have to return home to find one, Jack lowered the Leprechaun to the ground and took the little man's hat placing it on the highest and thorniest of limbs for there were many other bushes present of the same type, and Jack did not want to risk being confused when he returned to dig his fortune.

Jack made the Leprechaun swear not to touch the hat where upon the little man said, "How could I with it being so high up in such a thorny bush?

The Leprechaun, realizing he was again free, departed wishing Tom good fortune with his treasure of gold.

Tom ran home with great exhilaration to get the shovel, but when he returned, not one bush in the field held the little man's hat. Since it would not be of good sense to dig under every bush in the field, Jack sadly shouldered his shovel to return home perhaps a little wiser than before, but since then, many a rough word has been given by Jack whenever he thinks of the turn done to him by that Leprechaun.

You can send Danny Boy as an audio email greeting card



Oh, Danny boy, the pipes,
the pipes are calling
from glen to glen,


and down the mountain side.       



The summer's gone, and all the roses falling,
  It's you, it's you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,

  Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
It's I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,—
  Oh, Danny boy, O Danny boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
  If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying,
  And kneel and say an Avè there for me.

And I shall hear,
though soft you tread above me,
  And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
  And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!


These photos were taken during our Journey to the Edge spiritual retreat in June 2004 by Sr. Julia Mohr.  We appreciate her talents and her willingness to share them with you.

You can send Danny Boy as an audio email greeting card


When doing a search for information about Danny Boy, I uncovered some interesting possible history for this song at

The host of the site,  Michael Robinson claims that according to his research of printed music, the melody may have originated in either Ireland, Scotland, or possibly even England.  The best known title for this melody is Londonderry Air (sometimes also called the Tune from County Derry).  He claims there are over 100 lyrics that have been set to this melody with Danny Boy being the most significant.  .  

According to Mr. Robinson, a Mrs. Weatherly was residing in California and heard some gold miners singing the melody.  Taken by its beauty, she sent it to her brother, Frederic Edward Weatherly in England in 1912.  Mr. Weatherly was a lawyer, song writer and entertainer.  In 1910, he had written an unsuccessful song which he entitled Danny Boy. 

He was quite surprised to discover that the melody sent by his sister was a perfect vehicle for his words to Danny Boy.  Taking the new melody, he published a revised version in 1913.

According to Mr. Robinson, we have an "Irish" melody written by an Englishman who never set foot in Ireland.


 Our Performing Artists
for this broadcast



Will Nichols


Tony Patterson


Gary Padden
Bass & guitar


Dave Lund




A. Wakenhut
Celtic Harp

G. Wakenhut
Irish Flute

We were blessed with the presence of some very talented musicians the evening we recorded this broadcast.  We wish to thank them for their gifts to our work.

Will Nichols and Tony Patterson are both on the music faculty at Alma College, Alma, Michigan. 

Will is the Secrest Professor of Music and Director of the Alma College Choirs and his groups are recognized as some of the best collegiate ensembles in the country. He is also in demand as a baritone/bass soloist.

Tony is Artist-in-Residence and Staff Accompanist at Alma College, and he writes arrangements for the choral ensembles.  He is also recognized as a solo pianist and has two recordings to his credit.   

They are well known to those who desire our recordings.  Will's vocals are featured on the All Thru the Night recording and Tony's arranging and keyboard skills are in evidence on the Reverence and The Earth Remembers recordings.

Nina Nash-Robertson has been Director of Choral Activities at Central Michigan University since 1983. She directs four choirs and teaches conducting and choral literature. She received her first musical training in her native Dublin, Ireland, where she earned awards for both singing and Irish dancing. Upon arriving in the U.S., she became the founding director of the award-winning Shamrock Irish Dancers.  Nina is featured on our All Thru the Night Recording.  

Gary Padden is one of our talented neighbors and the bass man for the Gravel Ridge ensemble.  Professionally, he has a chiropractic practice in Lakeview.  His important presence is found on our Reverence and Earth Remembers CDs. 

Guitarist Dave Lund is another of our neighbors.  An employee of the US Postal Service, he also works with the Central Michigan based band, Too Hip.

We hope you have enjoyed our Spirit Within St. Patrick's Day Celebration.  Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive notice of our next Live Broadcast Recording

Danny Boy and The Story of St. Patrick have been excerpted from this broadcast and are available as separate files you can email to your friends as St. Pat greetings.  You can access these files and more at Collecting Consort email greeting cards.

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