Four Green Fields
About the Song
The 1967 song by Tommy Makem is about Ireland (personified as an “old woman”) and its four provinces (represented by “green fields”), one of which remains occupied (”taken”) by the British (the “strangers”) despite the best efforts of the Irish people (her “sons”), who died trying to defend them. It is allegorically about the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. When it became clear after World War I that the UK would no longer be able to rule all of Ireland, the UK held an election in the one Irish province (Ulster) that was likely to vote to remain part of the UK, due to the majority of Irish in that province being Protestant, unlike the overwhelming Catholic majority in the other three provinces.
The song has been enormously popular and become part of the Irish folk canon.