It’s a Long Way
to The Tipperary
The Tipperary Inn is well known for both its quality food and its famous history. Set in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside and originally owned by one half of the duo who wrote the notable wartime marching song It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, the inn now serves special Italian inspired dishes that are hard to beat.
Then called 'The Plough Inn', the Meer End pub is said to have been the writing place of Jack Judge and Harry Williams, after the two met at the start of the twentieth century.
The pub was owned by Williams' family, and the pair were to said to have written a song called 'It's a Long Way to Connemara' there in 1909.
In fact, Williams and Judge reportedly wrote 32 songs together over 15 years.
Judge is said to have changed the name of the Connemara song in 1912. Whilst performing in Stalybridge, Cheshire he took a five shilling bet that he couldn't write a song in 24 hours. 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' was the new song title.
The song, which was originally a slow ballad, was released by producer Bert Feldman alongside a number of Williams-Judge tracks in 1912. However, Feldman released the track as a marching song, with the name changed again to 'It's a Long, Long way to Tipperary'.
The song quickly became a hit amongst soldiers fighting during the First World War.
The Daily Mail reported that the Connaught Rangers Irish Regiment had started singing Its a Long Way to Tipperary in the trenches as early as August 1914. The newspaper's report is said to have increased the circulation of the lyrics dramatically.
The song was then recorded by John McCormack later that year. When Judge died in 1938 his obituary in the London Times read: "Its qualities soon made it into a marching song of the troops, and the combination of nonchalance and sentiment in the words reflected the emotions of the moment.
"Every one, even the tone-deaf, knew its refrain. But few could have named the composer."
Williams died at the age of 50 in 1928 and is now buried locally at Temple Balsall.
We used to
The Plough, Balsall Common, now The Tipperary pub, former home of Harry Williams and where he co-wrote It’s a Long Way to Tipperary with Jack Judge
A shy, sensitive introvert he was confined to a wheelchair after a childhood accident in which he fell down the cellar steps at his father’s pub, breaking both of his legs. Harry lived in The Tipperary Inn – when it was still The Plough.
His father Henry Sketchley moved from Oldbury to become the licensee of the pub in 1900.
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