Tag Archives: irish song

The British War Song: It’s a Long Way to Tipperary Song

Piece:

It’s a long way to Tipperary
It’s a long way to go
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know
Goodbye Piccadilly
Farewell Lester Square
It’s a long, long way to Tipperary
By my heart’s right there

Background: My informant learned this song from her husband who was in the British Navy. Typically this song was sung by sailors on the ship as a way of bonding. Later my informant recounted that her husband would sing it to their children while they were brushing their teeth to make sure that they spent long enough on the activity.

Context: My informant and I were discussing childhood experiences and she remembered when she had children she used to sing them songs along with her husband. She then sang those same songs to her grandchildren.

Thoughts: I have heard this song before but I never knew it came from soldiers singing to pass the time. The song appears to be about returning to a loved one that the soldier has missed very much, and since that loved one lives in Tipperary the song, likely, has Irish origins. Tipperary is a county in Ireland and across the British channel from Piccadilly, certainly a ‘long, long way’ to go.