I first heard and half-learned Tom Lehrer's wicked "Irish Ballad" and completely learned I hold your hand in mine dear
when visiting New York in 1959 on the good ship HMS Victorious. One of my mess-mates, a young Greenie REM "Bob" Avis, was a Tom Lehrer fan and bought at least one if not more of his LP's. Over the next year I had ample opportunity to listen to all the then current Tom Lehrer songs. In 1959 the cold war was in great shape and these songs certainly caught the grim mood of the times. Onboard HMS Victorious we were all very well aware of the situation and having nuclear weapons (or "buckets of sun" as they were so charmingly euphemized) felt ourselves to be at the sharp end. (Am I digressing?). Any roud up, most of us in 18A mess could sing his songs.
It was only recently (1998) that I came across the lyrics at
interesting site and can do the whole song, and not just the odd verse, after practically forty years. Many, many thanks Dexter!