Irish Drinking Songs - Irish Wake
The Irish wake is an example of the unique Irish Culture. It is also an occasion to celebrate the life of the deceased through music and song. When a family member dies, it is tradition to celebrate the persons life both before and after the funeral. Even in the modern Ireland of today, it is tradition that the deceased's body is brought 'home'. The family home becomes a 'Wake House' where the body is displayed in an open coffin for friends and family to come and pay their last respects.
The immediate family welcome visitors to the wake house and food and drink is offered to visitors. The life of the deceased is celebrated, stories are told, music is played and songs sung. Usually after two nights at 'home', the body is then taken to church for requiem mass followed by burial. Cremations are rare, particularly in rural areas. Often the wake continues with a meal and drinks in a local pub, again to celebrate the life.
Many songs have been composed about death and mourning, some sad other humorous. Finnegan's Wake for example is a popular Irish drinking song written in the 1850s and is about a lad who drinks too much causing him to fall off his ladder and is thought to be dead, the following is one of the verses from this famous humorous Irish drinking song:
"One morning Tim was rather full
His head felt heavy which made him shake
He fell off the ladder and he broke his skull
And they carried him home, his corpse to wake
Rolled him up in a nice, clean sheet
laid him out upon the bed
With a bottle of whiskey at his feet
And a barrel of porter at his head"