Sheila O’Kelly features the patriot and politician who is the subject of a famous Irish song


The Wearing of the Green is a song that is played by marching bands in Ireland and across the world on Saint Patrick’s Day. The song dates back to the 1798 Irish Rebellion when the Irish people rose up against the British.

At that time, wearing green clothing or shamrock was considered a rebellious act by the British Crown and punishable by death. The Society of the United Irishmen adopted green as its colour and wore green-coloured garments and shamrock as a symbol of Irish pride.
The song laments the repression of the supporters of the 1798 rebellion. The second verse relates how a rebel who was exiled from Ireland meets with Napper Tandy who asks for news from Ireland.

I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand
And said how’s poor old Ireland and how does she stand?
She’s the most distressful county that ever yet was seen
They’re hanging men and women for the wearing of the green

James Napper Tandy was born into a Protestant family in February 1740 in Cornmarket, Dublin to James and Maria Bella Tandy. Napper attended the Quaker boarding school in Ballitore, County Kildare.

When he completed his education, he worked as an ironmonger in his father’s business. Turning to politics, Napper was elected to Dublin Corporation that was controlled by British authorities. He represented the Guild of Merchants and exposed corruption within the Corporation.

Continue reading in this year’s Ireland’s Own Saint Patrick’s Day Annual