When Conor McGregor walks to the ring for his Saturday, August 26 fight with American boxer, Floyd Mayweather, Irish people around the world will fly high on an exciting surge of national pride. McGregor is a huge star in Ireland, a country that loves boxing, and he’s a proud Irishman who often uses his Irish-language name, Conchúr Antóin Mac Gréagóir. Conor is known for draping the Irish tri-color flag over his shoulders as he walks to the ring for a fight, and his theme song is itself a statement of passionate patriotism.
McGregor’s meteoric rise to fame has inspired millions of Irish and Irish-heritage fans, and his fierce love of his country brings to mind the rebels who helped Ireland break free of England’s rule in the early nineteenth century.
According to The Sun, it’s a near certainty that the McGregor vs Mayweather fight will see Conor walk out to “The Foggy Dew,” a song that was written in honor of the Irish who died or were imprisoned and executed after the Easter Rising in 1919. Timothy Bissell in The Bloody Elbow described “The Foggy Dew” as “a window into Éire’s history, identity, and perhaps the heart of one of her most famous fighters.”
Conor’s anthem has for years been popular wherever Irish expatriates are gathered, and it’s a rousing memorial to the tragic history suffered by the Irish people as they struggled for independence.
The lyrics to McGregor’s fight song choice were created in 1919 by a parish priest from the tiny village of Kilcoo in County Down, Northern Ireland. Canon Charles O Neill was at the first Dáil Éireann in Dublin after the Easter Rising, a few years before the eventual establishment of Ireland’s national legislature, separate from the United Kingdom. The Dáil is Ireland’s House of Representatives.
At the first sitting there was a roll call for all the names of those who should have been there, but name after name was answered with the chilling phrase, “faoi ghlas ag na Gaill.” The words translate as, “locked up by foreigners” and referred to the many advocates of Irish independence who were imprisoned and executed by the British Crown.
“The Foggy Dew” is a lament for the revolutionaries who died or locked up that Easter, and a poignant reminder of the sacrifice they made for their country. The Bloody Elbow outlined how the lyrics are a “blow-by-blow account” of the Easter Rising and a direct reflection of the suffering of the Irish people as their young men were forced to fight and die under the British flag during World War I.
While the Rising was doomed to failure, it alarmed the United Kingdom and astonished the world with the temerity of the rebels, and eventually led to complete independence for the Republic of Ireland.
“While the world did gaze with deep amaze / At those fearless men but few..”
When Conor McGregor chose the rebel anthem for his walkout song, he knew what he was doing. Fans of Ireland’s boxing sensation will feel the blood rushing through their veins as they sing along with Sinead O’Connor and The Chieftains to the words of “The Foggy Dew.”
According to CNET, the Conor McGregor will enter the ring tonight at 6 p.m. PT in Las Vegas. The Mayweather vs McGregor fight is expected to be the most-watched boxing match ever.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]