It takes some licence with tradition and with 'keeping it real' (see Stephin Merritt quotes).
- The album version has treated guitar panned quickly across the stereo — by contrast, the song sounds more 'authentic' when performed live without these treatments.
- It's hard to place and date the war to which the song refers: there have been few wars that have extended throughout Ireland ('blowing through the land') or been protracted enough for a girl to grow into a woman ('When I come home, if I come home / You'll be a grown woman').
Kilronan is the main town on Inishmore in the [Aran Islands], part of County Galway ('Abigail / 's gonna be the beauty of County Galway'). Though there's also another [Kilronan Parish] is in County Roscommon. The great Irish traditional harp player and songwriter Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1736) is buried in the church of this other Kilronan [source], and Kilronan Parish is still home to a [Harp festival]. In a tradition of non-authentic instrumentation that would surely appeal to Stephin Merritt, much of O'Carolan's harp music, along with other folk tunes and ballads, has been sequenced for MIDI [link].