Tune of the Day: The Minstrel Boy
While the lyrics to this patriotic song were written by Thomas Moore, the melody is an old Irish air known as “The Moreen”. It is widely believed that Moore composed the song in remembrance of a number of his friends, whom he met while studying at Trinity College, Dublin and who were killed during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
The song gained widespread popularity and became a favorite of many Irishmen who fought during the American Civil War and gained even more popularity after World War I. It is notably associated with organizations that historically had a heavy representation of Irish-Americans, in particular the police and fire departments of New York, Boston and Chicago and those of various other major US metropolitan areas, even after those organizations have ceased to have a substantial over-representation of personnel of Irish ancestry. The melody is still frequently played at funerals of members of such organizations.
The tune is used as the theme of John Huston's 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. It is also heard in several other films, including Black Hawk Down, and in some episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.