Completing St. Patrick’s Day Holiday Weekend with Garryowen – Irish quickstep dance tune and U.S. 7th Cavalry March

St. Patrick’s Day was Friday 17 March 2017. I’m posting this Sunday morning 19 March 2017. Some people working on Friday did not have the free time to PROPERLY celebrate it…

…Therefore, celebrating must continue into the weekend when those people have more free time.

I was reminded of this while watching Fox News earlier this morning, showing people still celebrating and wearing green. A few of them drinking green beer. My impression is more attention has been given to this St. Patrick’s Day than those of the past 8 years. Also, this morning, Fox News was playing some Irish music, including…

Garryowen, also known as Garyowen, Garry Owen and Gary Owens, is an Irish tune for a quickstep dance. It was selected as a marching tune for British, Canadian, and American military formations, most notably Gen. George Armstrong Custer‘s 7th Cavalry.” – Wikipedia. I only knew it for the Custer theme from movies and TV shows, and I’d never heard the lyrics until seeing the Rough Riders movie/miniseries repeated on TV a few months ago…

More from Wikipedia…

The word garryowen is derived from Irish, the proper name Eóin (an Irish form of John) and the word for garden garrai – thus “Eóin’s Garden”. A church dating to the 12th Century by the Knights Templar dedicated to St. John the Baptist is the source of modern area of Garryowen in the city of Limerick, Ireland.

This song emerged during the late 18th century, when it was a drinking song of rich young roisterers in Limerick. It obtained immediate popularity in the British Army through the 5th (or Royal Irish) Regiment of Dragoons.

Beethoven composed two arrangements of the song during 1809–1810 (published 1814–1816 in W.o.O. 152 and W.o.O. 154) with the title, “From Garyone My Happy Home”, with lyrics by T. Toms, on romantic themes. The arrangements were part of a large project by George Thomson to engage prominent composers of his time to write arrangements of the folk songs of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The composer Mauro Giuliani arranged the tune in Arie Nazionali Irlandesi nr.1-6 Op.125 (Six Irish Airs).

A very early reference to the tune appears in the publication The Life of the Duke of Wellington by Jocquim Hayward Stocqueler, published during 1853. He describes the defence of the town of Tarifa during the Peninsular War, late December 1811. General H. Gough, later Field Marshal Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough, commanding officer of the 87th Regiment (Later the Royal Irish Fusiliers), after repulsing an attack by French Grenadiers “… was not, however, merely satisfied with resistance. When the enemy, scared, ran from the walls, he drew his sword, made the band play ‘Garry Owen’, and followed the fugitives for two or three hundred yards.”

Garryowen was also a favourite during the Crimean War. The tune has also been associated with a number of British military units, and is the authorised regimental march of The Irish Regiment of Canada. It was the regimental march of the Liverpool Irish, British Army.[citation needed] It is the regimental march of the London Irish Rifles (now part of The London Regiment (TA)). It was also the regimental march of the 50th (Queen’s Own) Foot until 1869.

Garryowen is the Quick March and Canter March of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry, a civilian organisation based in South West Wales, who perform Cavalry and Living History Displays, including the Welsh Horse Musical Ride, in which the tune Garryowen features prominently. [See]

During early 1851 Irish citizens of New York City formed a militia regiment known locally as the Second Regiment of Irish Volunteers. The group selected “Garryowen” as their official regimental marching song. On 12 October 1851, the Regiment was accepted officially as part of the New York Militia and designated as 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Militia, (the famed “Fighting 69th” ). It is presently known officially as the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry and is part of the 42nd Infantry Division.

It later became the marching tune for the American 7th Cavalry Regiment during the late 19th century. The tune was brought to the 7th Cavalry by Brevet Colonel Myles W. Keogh and other officers with relations to the Fifth Royal Irish Lancers and the Papal Guard. As the story goes, it was the last song played for Custer’s men as they left General Terry’s column at the Powder River. The 7th Cavalry became a part of the 1st Cavalry Division during 1921. The word “Garryowen” was used often during the Vietnam War by soldiers of First Cavalry as a password to identify each other. It became the official tune of the division during 1981. The name of the tune has become a part of the regiment, the words Garry Owen are part of the regimental crest.

The tune became the name for bases established by the Cavalry in current conflicts. The most recent was Combat Operating Base, (COB), Garry Owen in the Maysan Province of Iraq. The base was near the city of Al Amarra and was established by the 2/7 CAV. There is a Camp Garry Owen, north of Seoul, Korea, which houses part of the 4th Squadron of the First Cavalry regiment. There is also a currently operating Forward Operating Base, FOB Garryowen, within the Maysan province of Iraq. FOB Garryowen was established in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 8–10 in June 2008 by 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

Garry Owen most recently was also the Regimental Quick March of The Ulster Defence Regiment CGS (UDR). When the UDR merged with The Royal Irish Rangers during 1992 to become The Royal Irish Regiment, Garry Owen was replaced by Killaloe.


Reported by Jim Lantern in Norman Oklahoma


Sunday morning 19 March 2017

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