Taking a detour from my usual brief to bring you my very own St. Patrick's favorites...


1. "Forty Shades of Green." Johnny Cash wrote this song but it never ceases to amaze me how it caught the spirit of the Irish countryside, especially beautiful places like Dingle in Kerry -- recently featured in the movie "Leap Year" and "Ryan's Daughter ."

2. "Four Green Fields." Tommy Makem of Tommy Makem and and the Clancy Brothers fame wrote this about the fight for Irish freedom and the fact that the fourth field, Northern Ireland was "still in bondage." Things have gotten a lot better since he wrote it but it remains a haunting melody.

3. "Only Her Rivers Run Free." Another beautiful air, written by Sean McConnell, brother of IrishCentral columnist Cormac. Cormac once wrote beautifully about how the song got written, late night at a party in Dublin on a scrap of paper, retrieved the next day it became an instant classic.

4. "Fields of Athenry." Another modern classic, so good they are now making a movie about how it got written. Pete St. John says he woke up from a dream with the song in his head. He should dream some more It was a good one.

5. "Raglan Road." Only The Dubliners' version sung by Luke Kelly who has a voice like broken glass. A beautiful love song that charms even more every time I hear it.


1. "Ryan's Daughter." If you do nothing else get it on DVD, a neglected classic that is beginning to come back into vogue. The stunning cinematography by David Lean is worth the price of admission itself.

2. "The Quiet Man." The classic of classics, what else can I say, Mary Kate Danaher?

3. "My Left Foot." The movie that began the era of modern filmmaking in Ireland. Daniel Day Lewis stayed in character as the paraplegic Christy Browne on and off the set and won an Oscar -- amazing.

4. "In the Name of the Father'." Daniel again as unjustly convicted Gerard Conlon of the Guildford Four in a movie that blew wide open the issue of the wrongful conviction of innocent men and women at the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

5. "In America." Jim Sheridan's classic emigrant tale based on his own experience of coming to the United States. Warm, witty and wonderful.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!