Describing the beautiful Irish landscape as "Forty Shades of Green" is used the world over, but how did the phrase become so popular?

You might be surprised to hear that it was country singer Johnny Cash that popularized the phrase "Forty Shades of Green" with a song of the same name that featured on his album "Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash" in 1961.

Cash was inspired to write the song during a trip to Ireland in 1959 and while he lists a number of popular destinations in Ireland – Dublin, Shannon, Dingle, Skibbereen – local legend has it that he got the initial inspiration in the Kockmealdown Mountains in Co. Tipperary.

The Irish Heritage Tree is making sure Ireland always stays forty shades of green. You can help keep the fields and forests of Ireland green and growing by planting a tree in Ireland today.

Listen: "Forty Shades of Green" by Johnny Cash

Lyrics of "Forty Shades of Green" - Johnny Cash, 1959

I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea

from the fishin boats at Dingle to the shores at Donaghdee

I miss the River Shannon and the folks at Skibbereen
the moorlands and meadows and their Forty Shades of Green
But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town
and most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown
I long again to see and do the things we've done and seen
where the breeze is sweet as shalimar and there's Forty Shades of Green
I wish that I could spend an hour at Dublin´s churning suft
I long to watch the farmers drain the bogs and spade the turf
to see again the thatching of the straw the women clean
I´d walk from Cork to Larne to see those Forty Shades of Green
But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town
and most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown
I long again to see and do the things we´ve done and seen
where the breeze is sweet as shalimar and there´s Forty Shades of Green

Click here for more information on how you can plant your own tree in Ireland with the Irish Heritage Tree.