The Fields of Athenry is a folk song about the Great Irish Famine, of the 1840s and tells a story through first-person narrative. The song, which was first recorded by Irish ballad singer Danny Doyle, recounts the tale of a prisoner who has been sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food to feed his starving family.
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Old Irish was the language of Ireland’s “Golden Age”, and its classical phase is generally assigned to the period AD 700-850. Old Irish evolved into Middle Irish, the language of the late Viking and post-Viking period. In comparison with Old Irish, Middle Irish is characterized by a simplification of the inflections of noun and verb and of the system of pronouns.
Irish is a Celtic language and, as such, is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. Within the Celtic group, it belongs to the Goidelic branch of insular Celtic. Irish has evolved from a form of Celtic introduced into Ireland during the great Celtic migrations between the end of the second millennium and the fourth century BC.