I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen – But To Where?

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The preferred tune, “I’m going to take you house once more Kathleen” was once written in 1876 and immortalized via singers Depend John McCormack and Josef Locke. This can be a tune of eager for the land from whence the author and his woman have come. The connection with “Around the ocean large and wild” and “The place the fields are contemporary and inexperienced” have usually each been taken to imply the Outdated Nation, cherished authentic house of such a lot of Irish immigrants to America of The us.

However this isn’t essentially the case.

The lyrics without a doubt level to Eire because the “house” of the tune, however now not the antecedents of the composer. Thomas P Westendorf, was once born in Virginia. Undoubtedly many of us of Irish descent have been born at the east coast of the US, however they wouldn’t endure the identify Westendorf, which issues to a extra Germanic descent.

Additionally the tune was once written, now not in Virginia, however in Plainfield, In poor health. for his spouse, who wasn’t even named Kathleen, however Jennie, while she was once visiting her house the town of Ogdensburg, New York. So, in all probability the “house” referred to was once now not the Emerald Isle, in any respect, however the similarly inexperienced fields of New York state. And what of the “ocean large and wild”. Slightly tougher to provide an explanation for, but it surely most likely refers back to the prairies, that have been, at the moment, nonetheless as unhealthy and as forbidding as any ocean.

On the time, the brand new “Oregon Path” to the west coast was once really well established. Within the early days, the pioneers discovered the usual wagon, in line with the cast Conestoga design preferred via the opposite pioneers, too massive and heavy when crossing the Rocky Mountains, killing even the sturdiest of ox groups lengthy sooner than the adventure was once finished. So a lighter model was once evolved via the Studebaker Brothers and nicknamed “Prairie Schooners”.

Therefore, via 1876, the concept that of schooners — and thus the prairie being similar to a limiteless ocean — was once firmly within the nationwide lexicon, so it will be herbal for Westendorf to include references to a nonetheless in large part untamed wild and large ocean in his tune, with out that means the Atlantic Ocean, throughout which lay a rustic of which he had scant wisdom.

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