Thursday 8 December 2016

Gene Kerrigan: Our Christmas woes committed to tune

There's nothing like a good festive song to reveal ugly truth about the state of the nation, writes Gene Kerrigan

Published 25/12/2011 | 05:00

There are lots of great Christmas songs, but very occasionally, a song comes along that not only catches the Christmas spirit but somehow clicks with the mood of the times. Such songs use heightened seasonal sentiments to connect with the deeper emotions of the era. For instance, White Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Happy Xmas (War is Over), Fairytale of New York.

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This year, we can acclaim a unique Irish voice as it seeks to join the pantheon of Christmas classics. Where the great Irving Berlin has gone before, along with Shane MacGowan, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, John Lennon, Nat 'King' Cole and Mel 'Chestnuts Roasting' Torme. I speak, of course, of Ding Dong Denny O'Reilly. Writer, singer, drinker, bowsie, last of the red hot republicans, with the emphasis on pub.

Denny's song, Merry Christmas on Merrion Road, lacks the subtle dynamics of White Christmas. In fact, Denny's name and the word subtle have never before been mentioned in the same sentence. Nevertheless, this time Ding Dong has produced a song that captures a moment in the history of this great little nation.

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