by Catherine Goldberg ’20
New England is known for its many citizens of Irish heritage and the celebration surrounding. Saint Patrick’s Day is the one day each year Irish people get to flaunt their love for their beloved culture. Many Providence College students are a part of this Gaelic group, and they leave the campus decked out in green every March 17.
One of the main ways these Irish lads and lassies celebrate the day is by listening to Irish and Gaelic music. Traditional Irish music is a full body experience as the upbeat tempos of the fiddles, flutes, and banjos compel you to jig and clap your hands. A favorite amid these Irish bands is The Dropkick Murphys.
The Dropkick Murphys are an American Celtic punk band straight out of Quincy, Massachusetts. The band officially signed with in 1996 and is known for locally touring throughout Boston, especially during their annual Saint Patrick’s Day week shows. The band is most famously known for their song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”
“I’m Shipping Up to Boston” is The Dropkick Murphys’ take on a folk song written by Woody Guthrie. The song is about a sailor who lost his leg in a crazy rigging accident. Now, the sailor is “shipping up to Boston” in order to find his wooden leg. Songfacts interviewed drummer Matt Kelly of The Dropkick Murphys, who told them how they were able to obtain the unpublished lyrics of the song from Guthrie.
They were honored to go through his lyrical archives and pick out the song, but say that they “had no business even being able to look at those lyrics,” which is why they went through with their own version of the song. Kelly claims that “there have been some big names that have been after those lyrics for decades. I know Springsteen’s been after ’em.”
Since The Dropkick Murphys are from Boston, the music is often associated with Boston sports teams. This song and “Tessie,” are favorites at Fenway Park, where they are often played at Boston Red Sox games.
“I’m Shipping Up to Boston” is also often played at the New England Patriots’ games at Gillette Stadium. The song was heard during the 2015 Super Bowl telecast when the Patriots took on the Seattle Seahawks and won on a late interception.
The song seems to take on a life of its own. As the banjo slowly starts off the song, more and more instruments stream in, compelling one to jig in a Celtic frenzy. The Dropkick Murphys’ hit song will definitely be making appearances on the PC campus this Saturday. Now when all you Friars hear “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” come on the speakers, you can dance with passion for that crazy sailor shipping off for his lost wooden leg.