Irish music has a lot of different farewell songs, however, there are very few which have endured more and managed to become so popular all over the world as the Parting Glass.
The Irish had gotten used to being without their families over hundreds of years spent emigrating all over the world. Their response to this type of separation has been exemplified quite perfectly in this song.
It will bring tears to your eyes but in a life-alarming and moving way. Right from the first verse, it is clear that the song is about someone who’s comfortable with themselves. He has a happy approach to life. It does not sound like he has ever had a lot of money, but whatever he did have, was always spent with good company. The person doesn’t sound like they did too much wrong and the harm done was usually to themselves. In terms of mistakes, they cannot remember any.
The man is popular and welcome wherever he goes. All his friends are sorry whenever he leaves and his sweethearts wish that he could stay for at least one more day. However, there is something which is happening that is out of his control. Even though his friends may stay, he has to leave. He’ll do so with quiet dignity and warmth like he has throughout life.
This has been the best farewell song in Ireland for more than two hundred years now and has been used by Clancy Brothers, an Irish folk group for quite some time as the last song of their concerts.
It has a popularity which has been based on the positive approach it shares to life, which enables the singers to remain positive even when they need to leave the people who they care about the most. This life-affirming quality of the song is what makes it one of the best Irish songs ever.