The song Follow Me Up To Carlow commemorates the Irish defeat of an English army (led by Lord Gray de Wilton) at the Battle of Glenmalure in 1580. The battle took place in the Wicklow Mountains, just south of Dublin. This battle was the turning point in the Second Desmond Rebellion. The Irish were led by Fiach McHugh O’Byrne.
The lyrics to the song were written in the late 1800s by Patrick Joseph McCall, but the tune was reportedly first performed by Fiach McHugh’s pipers in 1580, after the battle.
This version of Follow Me Up to Carlow is Michael Londra’s from his show Beyond Celtic.
Another song about Co. Carlow is I Won’t Follow You Up to Carlow. It’s sung to the same tune as Follow Me Up To Carlow, but it is told from the point-of-view of a soldier who is sick of fighting. This song is performed by Fiddler’s Green from Alberta, Canada.
For a lot more on Carlow, I recommend JJ Meehan’s Blog.