The Irish Rover: #SongLyricSunday

Happy New Year Song Lyric Sharing People! Hope you’ve all had a good time however you’ve spent the festive season, and 2018 brings you everything you wish for.

January though… it’s a bit grim isn’t it? In my part of the world, winter sets in with a vengeance with the arrival of the New Year. Without Christmas to look forward to, it feels like you can’t do much more than get your head down and power through to spring. So here’s something ridiculous for this week’s theme, ‘madness’ – I give you the Pogues and the Dubliners performing The Irish Rover in 1987, a song which never fails to bring a smile to my face:

Everything about this is mad, and it’s just glorious. Ronnie Drew’s beard, Sean MacGowan’s teeth, the cigarettes tucked behind their ears, the beer swigging between verses. And the lyrics… what can I say? Have a listen, and embrace the craziness.

“The Irish Rover”

On the fourth of July eighteen hundred and six
We set sail from the sweet cove of Cork
We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks
For the grand city hall in New York
‘Twas a wonderful craft, she was rigged fore-and-aft
And oh, how the wild winds drove her
She’d got several blasts, she’d twenty-seven masts
And we called her the Irish Rover

We had one million bags of the best Sligo rags
We had two million barrels of stones
We had three million sides of old blind horses hides
We had four million barrels of bones
We had five million hogs, we had six million dogs
Seven million barrels of porter
We had eight million bails of old nanny goats’ tails
In the hold of the Irish Rover

There was awl Mickey Coote who played hard on his flute
When the ladies lined up for his set
He was tootin’ with skill for each sparkling quadrille
Though the dancers were fluther’d and bet
With his sparse witty talk he was cock of the walk
As he rolled the dames under and over
They all knew at a glance when he took up his stance
And he sailed in the Irish Rover

There was Barney McGee from the banks of the Lee
There was Hogan from County Tyrone
There was Johnny McGurk who was scared stiff of work
And a man from Westmeath called Malone
There was Slugger O’Toole who was drunk as a rule
And fighting Bill Tracey from Dover
And your man Mick McCann from the banks of the Bann
Was the skipper of the Irish Rover

For a sailor it’s always a bother in life
It’s so lonesome by night and by day
‘Til he launch for the shore and this charming young whore
Who will melt all his troubles away
All the noise and the rout
Swollen poitín and stout
For him soon the torment’s over
Of the love of a maid he’s never afraid
And old sot from the Irish Rover

We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out
And the ship lost it’s way in the fog
And that whale of the crew was reduced down to two
Just myself and the captain’s old dog
Then the ship struck a rock, oh Lord what a shock
The bulkhead was turned right over
Turned nine times around, and the poor dog was drowned
I’m the last of the Irish Rover


(traditional, according to the 1966 publication Walton’s New Treasury of Irish Songs and Ballads 2, the song is attributed to songwriter/arranger J. M. Crofts)


11 thoughts on “The Irish Rover: #SongLyricSunday

  1. Oh yes; the memories. We played this in the band I played with years ago (a Scottish/Irish Celtic pub band – we called ourselves the Axe Wounds – judging by our name you’d think we were some death metal band!).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: The Irish Rover: #SongLyricSunday — kirstwrites – SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS COVENANT HOUSE

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