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The Irish in World War I Songs

The Irish in World War I Sheet Music - Irish Sheet Music ArchivesThe Irish experience during World War I (1914-1918) was complex, and the variety of Irish and Irish American themes in popular sheet music of the era reflects this complexity. These themes include romantic songs, songs honoring military units, patriotic songs, and songs reflecting Irish politics of the time.

During the World War I years of 1917 to 1919, the U. S. Government requested that industries using consumable products begin to conserve these materials -- including paper goods. A smaller 7” x 10” sheet music format was introduced by some publishers, shrinking the cover art and even condensing multiple pages of music. Examples from our collections of World War I songs published in this smaller format include "An Irishman Was Made To Love and Fight" and "K-K-K-Katy."

George M. Cohan and “Over There”

In 1917, Irish American George M. Cohan wrote the song that would make him an international name. "Over There" was written while Cohan was riding on a train to New York after hearing the news that America had entered the Great War. The song became a smash hit and quickly sold over a million copies. It became the rallying song for American troops and to this day is the one song most Americans associate with World War I. Twenty-five years later President Franklin D. Roosevelt would present to Cohan the Congressional Medal of Honor for the uplifting spirit it brought to American troops.

“It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary”

“It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary” (also known as “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”) actually predates World War I, although it became popular and associated with the war. Originally a British music hall song written by Jack Judge and co-credited to Harry Williams, journalist George Curnock reported that the Irish regiment of the Connaught Rangers sang the song as they marched through Boulogne on August 13, 1914. Other British army units picked up the song quickly thereafter. John McCormack, the famous tenor, recorded “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary” in November 1914 which helped increase its popularity.

Other composers cashed in on this popularity by writing other “Tipperary” themed World War I songs: “I’m a Long Way From Tipperary,” “I’m Going Back to Tipperary,” and “It May Be Far To Tipperary It’s a Longer Way To Tennessee” are a few examples.

Ireland, Home Rule, and the Great War

A major political crisis over Home Rule or Irish self-government occurred before the outbreak of the First World War. The Third Home Rule Act was signed into law in September of 1914, although operation of the Bill was suspended during the war. The start of the war in 1914 temporarily defused armed tensions between Unionists and Nationalists. A total of 206,000 Irish served in the British forces during the war.

The participants of the 1916 Easter Rising sought and received aid from Germany during the war. However, the shipment of arms was intercepted and destroyed off the coast of County Kerry by British forces before the uprising began.

This all led to the creation of songs such as "Volunteer March - Song" and “When Germany Licks England Old Ireland Will Be Free” by Charles A. Meyers in 1915, which was published in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Interestingly enough, Meyers also wrote “We’re Going to Show the Kaiser the Way to Cut Up Sauerkraut” later in 1918.

Sheet Music

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Any Old Place The Gang Goes (I'll Be There) ECW SL 00-119
  • McKenna, William J.
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Army's Full Of Irish (A Man From Erin Never Runs, He's Irish), The IF SL 01-175
  • Donaldson, Walter
  • Hanlon, Bert
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Captain Riley Of The USA IF SL 01-482
  • Smith, Ella M.
  • Strout, G. Vernon
  • Smith, Howard
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Colleen Machree IF SL 00-724
  • Olman, Abe
  • Mahoney, Jack
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Dear Old Pal Of Mine ECW SL 00-014
  • Rice, Gitz
  • Robe, Harold
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Don't Let Us Sing Anymore About War, Just Let Us Sing Of Love (Peace Song) IF SL 01-067
  • Lauder, Harry
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Everybody Welcome - Everything Free (That Is The Slogan of The K Of C) IF SL 01-605
  • Sullivan, Alex
  • Egan, Thomas
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Faugh-A-Ballagh (Fog-A-Bolla) IF SL 01-472
  • Olman, Abe
  • Rose, Ed.
  • Starmer
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Fighting 69th, The IF SL 01-894
  • Evans, Everett J.
  • McCuen, Jerome J.
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Go Over The Top With Reilly IF SL 01-824
  • Brown, Al. W.
  • Hoier, Thomas P.
  • Leahan, Joseph M.
  • Starmer
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God Be With Our Boys To-Night ECW SL 00-021
  • Sanderson, Wilfrid
  • Bowles, Fred. G.
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Hello Central! Give Me No Man's Land IF SL 01-331
  • Young, Joe
  • Schwartz, Jean
  • Lewis, Sam M.
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I Love You Mary My Irish Fairy IF SL 01-220
  • Tidd, G. M.
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If We Had A Million Like Him Over There IF SL 00-281
  • Baskette, Billy
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If You Hear Them Calling Clancy, He's My Boy IF SL 01-227
  • Klein, Lou
  • Starmer
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I'll Be Proud Among The Crowd In Ireland IF SL 02-395
  • Coyle, H. V.
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I'm A Long Way From Tipperary ECW SL 00-028
  • Erdman, Ernie
  • Lewis Roger
  • McCullough, Carl
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I'm Going Back To Tipperary Where The Sweet Red Roses Grow IF SL 02-014
  • Dick, John W.
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Irish Laddies To The War Have Gone, The IF SL 00-504
  • Madden, Frank O.
  • Brazil, Jules
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Irishman Was Made To Love And Fight, An IF SM 00-541
  • Santly, Joseph H.
  • Bratton, John W.
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It May Be Far To Tipperary It's A Longer Way To Tennessee ECW SL 00-154
  • Solman, Alfred
  • Lamb, Arthur J.
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It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary IF SL 00-092
  • Judge, Jack
  • Williams, Harry
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It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary IF SL 00-886
  • Judge, Jack
  • Williams, Harry
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It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary IF SL 00-918
  • Judge, Jack
  • Williams, Harry
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It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary ECW SL 00-037
  • Judge, Jack
  • Williams, Harry
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Jerry : You Warra A Warrior In The War IF SM 00-914
  • Baskette, Billy
  • O'Neil, Dannie
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Just a Baby's Prayer at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There) IF SL 02-704
  • Jerome, M. K.
  • Lewis, Sam M.
  • Young, Joe
  • Barbelle
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Keep The Home-Fires Burning (Till the Boys Come Home)ECW SL 00-045
  • Novello, Ivor
  • Ford, Lena Guilbert
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K-K-K-Katy ECW SM 00-051
  • O'Hara, Geoffrey
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Laddie In Khaki (The Girl Who Waits At Home) IF SL 01-532
  • Novello, Ivor
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Laddies Who Fought And Won, The IF SL 01-525
  • Lauder, Harry
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Little French Mother, Good Bye!ECW SM 00-497
  • Caddigan, Jack
  • Rockwell, Norman
  • Story, Chick
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Look Out For The Irish To-Night IF SL 01-601
  • Lange, Arthur
  • Sterling, Andrew B.
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My Barney Lies Over The Ocean (The Way He Lied To Me) ECW SL 00-242
  • Lewis, Sam M.
  • Young, Joe
  • Grant, Bert F.
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My Rose Of Tipperary IF SL 02-017
  • Downs, William A.
  • Geary, Tom Mayo
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Never Let Yourself Forget That You Are Irish Too ECW SL 00-247
  • Ball, Ernest R.
  • Brennan, J. Keirn
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Over There IF SL 01-444
  • Cohan, George M.
  • Barbelle
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Over There ECW SL 00-061
  • Cohan, George M.
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Over There ECW SL 00-062
  • Cohan, George M.
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Over There IF SL 02-705
  • Cohan, George M.
  • Delamarre, Louis
  • Rockwell, Norman
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Over Yonder Where the Lilies GrowECW SM 00-496
  • O'Hara, Geoffrey
  • Rockwell, Norman
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Private O'Shea IF SL 02-104
  • Krebs, Florence Kellogg
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Sergeant Mike O'Leary IF SL 01-978
  • Fay, Louis J.
  • Sweeney, Joe
  • Schaefer, Phil
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Sergeant Mike O'Leary, V. C. IF SL 00-838
  • Keating, Matt
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Stand Up And Fight Like H--- IF SL 01-256
  • Cohan, George M.
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Take Me Back To The Banks of KillarneyECW SL 00-264
  • Huston, Frank C.
  • Mason, A. O.
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That's The Irish In Me ECW SL 00-257
  • Graff, George Jr.
  • Grant, Bert F.
  • Barbelle
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The Shamrock And The Rose IF SL 00-390
  • Stretch, Emma P.
  • Wheeler, Dan E.
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Their Hearts Are Over Here IF SL 01-328
  • Cohan, George M.
  • Barbelle
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They All Sang Annie Laurie IF SL 01-470
  • Callahan, J. Will
  • Klickmann, F. Henri
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Tipperary Guards IF SL 01-296
  • Paull, E. T.
  • Starmer
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Volunteer March - Song IF SL 01-860
  • Meelish, M. C.
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We'll Bring Him Back to Tipperary : America's War Song IF SL 02-703
  • Beecher, Billy
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We'll Do Our Share (While You're Over There) IF SL 02-706
  • Brown, Lew
  • Harriman, Al
  • Egan, Jack
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When Germany Licks England Old Ireland Will Be Free IF SL 02-151
  • Meyers, Chas. A.
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When The Bonnie Bonnie Heather Is Blooming, I'll Return Annie Laurie To You IF SL 00-371
  • Ellis, James G.
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When The Fightin' Irish Come Home ECW SM 00-391
  • Santly, Joseph H.
  • Bratton, John W.
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When You Come Back (And You Will Come Back, There's a Whole World Waiting for You) ECW SL 00-095
  • Cohan, George M.
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When You Come Back And You Will Come Back, The Whole World Waiting For You IF SL 00-074
  • Cohan, George M.
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Where Is The Girl I Left Behind IF SM 00-820
  • Cohan, George M.
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The Widow Of A German Threw Him Down IF SL 00-493
  • Branen, Jeff T.
  • Lloyd, Evans
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Will the Angels Guard My Daddy Over There? IF SL 02-707
  • Armstrong, Paul B.
  • Klickmann, F. Henri
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