The words to over thirty well known Irish traditional ballads and songs

I compiled this long list of song lyrics while preparing a set list for a regular gig that I do in the bar in Harry’s bistro in Drogheda on Saturday nights at 9:30PM until 12:30AM. I don’t sing at all but to help the two singers in the group, I printed these off as a refresher.

Craggie hill. by Cara Dillon


It being in the springtime and the small birds they were singing,
Down by yon shady harbour I carelessly did stray,
The the thrushes they were warbling,
The violets they were charming
To view fond lovers talking, a while I did delay.

She said, my dear don’t leave me all for another season,
Though fortune does be pleasing I ‘ll go along with you,
I’ll forsake friends and relations and bid this Irish nation,
And to the bonny Bann banks forever I’ll bid adieu.

He said, my dear don’t grieve or yet annoy my patience,
You know I love you dearly the more I’m going away,
I’m going to a foreign nation to purchase a plantation,
To comfort us hereafter all in Amerika y.

Then after a short while a fortune does be pleasing,
T’will cause them for smile at our late going away,
We’ll be happy as Queen Victoria, all in her greatest glory,
We’ll be drinking wine and porter all in Amerika y.

If you were in your bed lying and thinking on dying,
The sight of the lovely Bann banks, your sorrow you’d give o’er,
Or if were down one hour, down in yon shady bower,
Pleasure would surround you, you’d think on death no more.

Then fare you well, sweet Cragie Hills, where often times I’ve roved,
I never thought my childhood days I ‘d part you any more,
Now we’re sailing on the ocean for honour and promotion,
And the bonny boats are sailing, way down by Doorin shore.


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Kate Rusby Awkward Annie


I gave to you a hen
You gave it back again
Without it’s eggs,
My Annie

I gave to you a hare,
You really didn’t care
Now it has no legs
My Annie

Oh Annie Let me in
I will fly, I will swim
I will die if you don’t
Come near me
Oh no, don’t you say so,
You are my dear, my Annie.

Oh Annie Let me in
I will fly, I will swim
I will die if you don’t
Come near me
Oh no, don’t you say so,
You are my dear, my Annie.


I gave to you a dog,
You threw for it a log,
Now it won’t come back,
My Annie.

I gave to you a pig,
It wasn’t very big,
Now the meats all black,
My Annie.

Oh Annie Let me in
I will fly, I will swim
I will die if you don’t
Come near me
Oh no, don’t you say so,
You are my dear, my Annie.

I gave to you a cow,
You really don’t know how,
It flew away,
My Annie.

I gave to you a horse,
I’m a silly fool of course,
For you rode away,
My… 
Annie Let me in
I will fly, I will swim
I will die if you don’t,
So Annie Let me in
I will fly, I will swim
I will die if you don’t
Come near me
Oh no, don’t you say so,
You are my dear, my…

Annie Let me in
I will fly, I will swim
I will die if you don’t
Come near me
Oh no, don’t you say so,
You are my dear, my Annie.

I gave to you my heart,
You tore it all apart,
When you rode away,
My Annie.


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The Ferrymen by the Dubliners


The little boats are gone, from the breast of Anna Liffey
And the Ferrymen are stranded on the Quay
The Dublin docks are dying and a way of life is gone
Molly it was part of you and me

Chorus:
Where the strawberry beds sweep down to the Liffey
You’ll kiss away the worries from my brow
I love you well today, and I’ll love you more tomorrow
If you ever loved me Molly love me now

‘Twas the only job I knew, it was hard but never lonely
The Liffey ferry made a man of me
Now it’s gone without a whisper, forgotten even now
Sure it’s over Molly over can’t you see

Chorus

Well now I’ll tend the yard, and I’ll spend my days in talkin’
I’ll hear them whisper Charlie’s on the dole (but not for long)
Molly we’re still livin’ and darlin’ we’re still young
And the river never owned me heart and soul

Chorus
Chorus

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Black is the colour


Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She has the sweetest smile and the gentlest hands
And I love the ground whereon she stands.

I love my love and well she knows
I love the ground whereon she goes
I wish the day it soon would come
When she and I could be as one.

I go the Clyde and I mourn and weep
For satisfied I never can be
I write her a letter, just a few short lines
And suffer death a thousand times.

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She has the sweetest smile and the gentlest hands
And I love the ground whereon she stands.


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The hills of Donegal


When I was young and in my prime
My mind being free from care
Whilst leaving all in Donegal to wander far away
Whilst leaving all in Donegal to wander far away
That I might plough the raging main, going to Amerikay.

In Creeslough town my friends stood round
And I bad adieu to all
In Creeslough town my friends stood round
And I bad adieu to all
And down Lough Foyle, and away I went
From the hills of Donegal.

The night being dark and stormy
And loud the waves did roar
Our captain cries, “Hold off, me boys
Our vessels going ashore!”
Our captain cries, “Hold off, me boys
To deck you one and all!”
And I rued the day I sailed away
From the hills of Donegal.

My father he’s a farmer
I mean to tell you all
Between Moville, near Derry
And the hills of Donegal.
I, being like many’s the foolish young lad
I thought I’d sail away
That I might plough the raging main
Going to Amerikay.

Here’s farewell unto Castlerock
Likewise unto Donhill
And to that spot where we sailed by
They call it sweet Moville
From sweet Culmore to that foreign shore
Where waves do rise and fall
Adieu, adieu to my wee lass
On the hills of Donegal

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Spanish lady


As I came down through Dublin City
At the hour of twelve at night
Who should I see but the Spanish lady
Washing her feet by candlelight
First she washed them, then she dried them
Over a fire of amber coal
In all my life I ne’er did see
A maid so sweet about the sole

Chorus:
Whack for the toora loora laddy
Whack for the toora loora lay
Whack for the toora loora laddy
Whack for the toora loora lay

As I came back through Dublin City
At the hour of half past eight
Who should I spy but the Spanish lady
Brushing her hair in the broad daylight
First she tossed it, then she brushed it
On her lap was a silver comb
In all my life I ne’er did see
A maid so fair since I did roam

(Chorus)

As I went back through Dublin City
As the sun began to set
Who should I spy but the Spanish lady
Catching a moth in a golden net
When she saw me, then she fled me
Lifting her petticoat over her knee
In all my life I ne’er did see
A maid so shy as the Spanish lady

(Chorus…)

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the lake of Ponchartrain.


O’er railroad ties and crossings
I made my weary way,
Through swamps and elevations
My tired feet did stray
Until I resolved at sunset
Some higher ground to win.
‘Twas there I met with a Creole girl
By the lake of Ponchartrain.

“Good evening, fair maiden,
My money does me no good.
If it wan’t for the allegators
I’d stay out in the wood.”
“You’re welcome, welcome, stranger.
At home it is quite plain
For we never turn a stranger
From the lake of Ponchartrain.”

She took me to her mother’s home
And she treated me quite well;
Her long black hair in ringlets
Upon her shoulders fell.
I tried to paint her picture
But, alas, it was in vain
So handsome was that Creole girl
By the lake of Ponchartrain.

I asked her if she’d marry me
She said that ne’er could be;
She said she had a lover,
And he was on the sea,
She said she had a lover
It was true she would remain,
Until he returned for the Creole girl
By the lake of Ponchartrain.

Adieu, adieu, fair maiden,
You ne’er shall see me more
And when you are thinking of the old times
And the cottage by the shore
And when I meet a sociable
With a glass of the foaming main
I’ll drink good health to the Creole girl
By the lake of Ponchartrain.

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the City of Chicago


Chorus In the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.

1847, was the year it all began,
Deadly pains of hunger, drove a million from the land,
They journeyed not for glory,
Their motive was not greed,
A voyage of survival,
Across the stormy sea.

In the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.


Some of them knew fortune, some of them knew fame,
More of them knew hardship,
And died upon the plain,
They spread throughout the nation,
They rode the railroad cars,
Brought their songs and music,
To ease their lonely hearts.

In the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.


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the bowld Ronny Drew 

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Paint a little Dublin. 

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Whiskey in the Jar


As I was going over, The Kilmagenny mountain
I met with Captain F arrell, And his money he was counting
I first produced my pistol, and then I drew my sabre
Saying stand and deliver, For I am the bold deciever

With me ring dum a doodle um dah
Whack for the daddy o
Whack for the daddy o
Theres whiskey in the jar

He counted out his money, And it made a pretty penny
I put it in my pocket, And I gave it to my Jenny
She sighed and she swore, That she never would betray me
But the devil take the women, For they never can be easy

Chorus

I went into my chamber, All for to take a slumber
I dream’t of gold and jewels, And for sure it was no wonder
But Jenny drew my charges, And she filled them up with water
And she sent for Captain Farrell, To be ready for the slaughter

Chorus


And twas early in the morning, Before I rose to travel
Up comes a band of footman, And likewise Captain Farrell
I then produced my pistol, For she had stole my sabre
But I couldn’t shoot the water, So a prisoner I was taken

Chorus

And if anyone can aid me, Its my brother in the army
If I could learn his station, In Cork or Killarney
And if he’d come andjoin me, We’d go roving in Kilkenny
I’ll engage he’ll treat me fairer, Than my darling sporting Jenny

Chorus


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School days over


School Days over, come on then John,
Time you was puttin you pit boots on
On with your sark and moleskin trousers,
time you was on your way
Time you was learnin the pitman’s job,
and earning a pitman’s pay

Come on then Jim, it’s time to go,
time you was working down below
Time to be handling a pick and shovel,
you start at the pit today
Time you was learning the collier’s job,
and earning a collier’s pay

Come on then Dai, it’s almost light,
time you was off to the anthracite
The morning mist in on the valley,
it’s time you was on your way
Time you was learning the miner’s job,
and earning a miner’s pay


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The wild rover


I’ve been a wild rover for many a year
And I spent all my money on whiskey and beer,
And now I’m returning with gold in great store
And I never will play the wild rover no more.

chorus: And it’s no, nay, never,
No nay never no more,
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more.

I went to an ale-house I used to frequent
And I told the landlady my money was spent.
I asked her for credit, she answered me “nay
Such a custom as yours I could have any day.”

chorus

I took from my pocket ten sovereigns bright
And the landlady’s eyes opened wide with delight.
She said “I have whiskey and wines of the best
And the words that I spoke sure were only in jest.”

chorus

I’ll go home to my parents, confess what I’ve done
And I’ll ask them to pardon their prodigal son.
And if they caress (forgive) me as ofttimes before
Sure I never will play the wild rover no more.

chorus


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The Irish rover


In the year of our Lord 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 of New York
‘Twas an elegant craft, she was rigged fore and aft
And oh how the trade winds drove her
She could stand several blasts, she had twenty-seven masts
And they 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, six million dogs
Seven million barrels of porter
We had eight million bales of oul’ nanny goats tails
In the hold of the Irish Rover

Break

There was old Micky Coote who played hard on his flute
When the ladies lined up for a set
He was tootling with a skill for each quadrill
Though the dancers were fluttered and fet
With his smart witty talk he was cock of the walk
And he rolled them under and over
When he took up with his stance they knew at a glance
That he sailed on the Irish Rover

There was Barney Magee from the banks of the Lee
There was Hogan from CO. Tyrone
There was Johnny McGurk who was scared stiff of work
And a man from West Meath called Malone
There was Slugger O’Toole who was drunk as a rule
And fighting Bill Tracy from Dover
And your man Mike McCann from the banks of the Bann
Was the skipper of the Irish Rover

Break

We had sailed several days when the measles broke out
And our ship lost its way in the fog
Then the whale of a crew was reduced down to two
Just myself and the captains old dog
Then the ship struck a rock, Lord what a shock
And we were turned right over
Turned nine times around, sure the poor dog was drowned
I’m the last of the Irish Rover

Break
Slow down last line 
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rattlin’ bog


O-ro the rattlin’ bog, the bog down in the valley-o
O-ro the rattlin’ bog, the bog down in the valley-o

And in that bog there was a tree, a rare tree, a rattlin’ tree
With the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

Now on that tree there was a limb, a rare limb, a rattlin’ limb
With the limb on the tree and the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

Now on that limb there was a branch, a rare branch, a rattlin’ branch
With the branch on the limb and the limb on the tree and the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Repeat, adding a line each time)
Now on that branch there was a twig, a rare twig, a rattlin’ twig…..

Now on that twig there was a nest, a rare nest, a rattlin’ nest…..
Now in that nest there was an egg , a rare egg, a rattlin’ egg…..
Now in that egg there was a bird, a rare bird, a rattlin’ bird…..
Now on that bird there was a feather, a rare feather, a rattlin’ feather …..
Now on that feather there was a flea, a rare flea, a rattlin’ flea …..


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The fields of Athenry


By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young girl calling
Michael they are taking you away
For you stole Trevelyn’s corn
So the young might see the morn.
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.

Chorus
Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing
we had dreams and songs to sing
It’s so lonely ’round the Fields of Athenry.

By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young man calling
Nothing matters Mary when you’re free,
Against the Famine and the Crown
I rebelled they ran me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity.

Chorus

By a lonely harbour wall
She watched the last star falling
As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she’ll wait and hope and pray
For her love in Botany Bay
It’s so lonely ’round the Fields of Athenry.

Chorus

Dirty old town
I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I Kissed my girl by the factory wall
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Dirty old town


Dirty old town

Clouds are drifting across the moon
Cats are prowling on their beat
Spring’s a girl from the streets at night
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I Heard a siren from the docks
Saw a train set the night on fire
I Smelled the spring on the smoky wind
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I’m gonna make me a big sharp axe
Shining steel tempered in the fire
I’ll chop you down like an old dead tree
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

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Black velvet band


Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band.
In a neat little town they call Belfast
Apprenticed to trade I was bound
And many an hour’s sweet happiness
I spent in that neat little town.
Till bad misfortune came o’er me
That caused me to stray from the land
Far away from my friends and relations
To follow the black velvet band.

Well, I was out strolling one evening
Not meaning to go very far
When I met with a pretty young damsel
Who was selling her trade in the bar.
When I watched, she took from a customer
And slipped it right into my hand
Then the Watch came and put me in prison
Bad luck to the black velvet band.

Next morning before judge and jury
For a trial I had to appear
And the judge, he said, “You young fellows…
The case against you is quite clear
And seven long years is your sentence
You’re going to Van Dieman’s Land
Far away from your friends and relations
To follow the black velvet band.”

So come all you jolly young fellows
I’d have you take warning by me
Whenever you’re out on the liquor, me lads,
Beware of the pretty colleen.
She’ll fill you with whiskey and porter
Until you’re not able to stand
And the very next thing that you’ll know, me lads,
You’re landed in Van Dieman’s Land.


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Raglan road


On Raglan Road of an Autumn day
I saw her first and knew,
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might someday rue.
I saw the danger and I passed
Along the enchanted way.
And I said,”Let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day.”

On Grafton Street in November, we
Tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen
The worth of passion play.
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
And I not making hay;
Oh, I loved too much and by such and such
Is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret signs,
That’s known to the artists who have known
The true gods of sound and stone.
And her words and tint without stint
I gave her poems to say
With her own name there and her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now,
And away from me so hurriedly
My reason must allow.
That I had loved, not as I should
A creature made of clay,
When the angel woos the clay, he’ll lose
His wings at the dawn of day.

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Dicey Riley


Poor aul Dicey Riley she has taken to the sup,
Poor aul Dicey Riley she will never give it up,
It’s off each morning to the hock,and she drops in for another little drop.
Ah the heart of the rowl is Dicey Riley.

She walks along Fitzgibbon Street with an independent air,
And then its down by Summerhill and the people stop and stare,
She says it’s nearly half past one,It’s time I had another little one,
Ah the heart of the rowl is Dicey Riley.

She owns a little sweet shop at the corner of the street,
Every evening after school,I go to wash her feet,
She leaves me there to mind the shop,
While she nips in for another little drop,
Ah the heart of the rowl is Dicey Riley

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Crazy dreams


This may not be the right version.

I had a dream last night that I held you
And you still seemed as handsome to me
But when I awoke I found you missin’
It’s just another crazy dream for me
(Chorus)
Crazy dreams linger on as I face an empty dawn
With no end to it all can I see
For I’ve surely reached the end
Lost your love to a friend
Just another crazy dream for me
Once you were mine and we were so happy
I never thought that the end soon would be
But now that you’re gone, and I’m so lonesome
It’s just another crazy dream for me
(Repeat chorus)

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Galway girl


Well I took a stroll down the old long walk
On the day I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
On a grande soft day I-ay

And I ask you friend, what’s a fella to do?
‘Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then, I’d be takin a whirl
Down the Salthill Prom with a Galway Girl

We were halfway there when the rain came down
On the day I-ay-I-ay
And she took me up to her flat downtown
On a fine soft day I-ay

And I ask you friend, what’s a fella to do?
‘Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
So I took her hand, and I gave her a twirl
And I lost my heart to a Galway Girl – Oh!

So when I woke up I was all alone
With a broken heart and a ticket home
And I ask you friend, what would you do?
If her hair was black and her eyes were blue


See I’ve travelled around, I’ve been all over the world
Boys
I’ve never seen nothing like a Galway girl

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Caledonia


I don’t know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I’ve been afraid
That I might drift away
So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that’s the reason why I seem
So far away today

Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had

Now I have moved and I’ve kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
I have kissed the ladies and left them crying
Stolen dreams, yes there’s no denying
I have traveled hard with coattails flying
Somewhere in the wind

(Chorus)
Now I’m sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They’ve withered now they’ve gone
But I’m steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear

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Fishermans blues


I wish I was a fisherman
tumblin’ on the seas
Far away from dry land
and its bitter memories
Casting out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
No ceiling bearin’ down on me
Save the starry sky above
With light in my head
you in my arms
Woo!

I wish I was the brakeman
on a hurtlin’ fevered train
Crashing a-headlong into the heartland
like a cannon in the rain
With the beating of the sweepers
and the burnin’ of the coal
Counting the towns flashing by
in a night that’s full of soul
With light in my head
you in my arms
Woo!

Tomorrow I will be loosened
from bonds that hold me fast
That the chains all hung around me
will fall away at last
And on that fine and fateful day
I will take thee in my hands
I will ride on the train
I will be the fisherman
With light in my head
you in my arms

Light in my head
You in my arms (repeat)

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Molly Malone


In Dublin’s fair city,
Where girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she pushed her wheelbarrow
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh”!

Chorus:

Alive, alive oh! alive, alive oh!
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh”!

Now she was a fishmonger,
And sure twas no wonder,
For so were her mother and father before,
And they each wheeled their barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh”!

Chorus:


She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
Now her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh”!
Chorus:


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Songbird


For you there’ll be no crying
For you the sun will be shining
‘Cause I feel that when I’m with you
It’s alright, I know it’s right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before

To you, I would give the world
To you, I’d never be cold
‘Cause I feel that when I’m with you
It’s alright, I know it’s right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before

Like never before; like never before.

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Molly Maguires


Chorus:
Make way for the Molly Maguires
They’re drinkers, they’re liars, but they’re men
Make way for the Molly Maguires
You’ll never see the likes of them again

Down the mines no sunlight shines
Those pits they’re black as hell
In modest style they do their time
It’s Paddy’s prison cell
And they curse the day they traveled far
And drown their tears with a jar

Chorus:
Make way for the Molly Maguires
They’re drinkers, they’re liars, but they’re men
Make way for the Molly Maguires
You’ll never see the likes of them again

Back will break and muscles ache
Down there there’s no time to dream
Of fields and farms, a woman’s arms
Just dig that bloody seam
Though they drain their bodies underground
Who’ll dare to push them around

Chorus:
Make way for the Molly Maguires
They’re drinkers, they’re liars, but they’re men
Make way for the Molly Maguires
You’ll never see the likes of them again
So, Make way for the Molly Maguires
They’re drinkers, they’re liars, but they’re men
Make way for the Molly Maguires
You’ll never see the likes of them again


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McAlpine’s Fusiliers.


(Spoken:) ‘Twas in the year of ‘thirty-nine,the sky was full of lead
Hitler was heading for Poland and Paddy, for Holyhead.
Come all you pincher laddies and you long-distance men
Don’t ever work for McAlpine for Wimpey, or John Laing
For you’ll stand behind a mixer until your skin is turned to tan
And they’ll say, Good on you, Paddy with your boat-fare in your hand.

Oh, the craic was good in Cricklewood and they wouldn’t leave the Crown

With glasses flying and Biddys crying ‘sure Paddy was going to town.
Oh mother dear, I’m over here and I’m never coming back
What keeps me here is the rake o’ beer the ladies and the craic.
I come from county Kerry the land of eggs and bacon
And if you think I’ll eat your fish ‘n’ chips be Jasus your mistaken.

As down the Glen came Mcalpine’s men with their shovels slung behind them.
It was in the pub that they drank their sub or down in the spike you’ll find them.
They sweated blood and they washed down mud with pints and quarts of beer.
But now we’re on the road again with McAlpines Fusiliers.


I stripped to the skin with Darky Finn down upon the Isle of Grain,
With Horseface Toole I learned the rule, no money if you stop for rain.
For McAlpine’s god is a well filled hod with your shoulders cut to bits and seared
And woe to he who looks for tea with McAlpines Fusiliers.

I remember the day that the Bear O’Shea fell into a concrete stair,
What Horseface said, when he saw him dead, well it wasn’t what the rich call prayers.
“I’m a navvy short,” was his one retort that reached unto my ears, When the going is rough, well you must be tough, with McAlpine’s Fusiliers.

I’ve worked till the sweat that has had me beat with Russian, Czech and Pole,
At shuttering jams up in the Hydro Dams, or underneath the Thames in a hole,
I grafted hard and I got me cards and many a ganger’s fist across me ears. If you pride your life, don’t join, by Christ, with McAlpine’s Fusiliers.

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Go Lassie go


Oh, the summertime is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie, go?

And we’ll all go together
To pluck wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie, go?

I will build my love a tower
Near yon pure crystal fountain
And on it I will build
All the flowers of the mountain
Will ye go lassie, go?

And we’ll all go together
To pluck wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie, go?

If my true love she were gone
I would surely find another
Where wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie, go?

And we’ll all go together
To pluck wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie, go?

Oh, the summertime is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie, go?

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Star of the county Down


Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
Chorus
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling rare
And I said, says I, to a passerby
“Who’s the maid with the nut-brown hair?”
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
“That’s the gem of Ireland’s crown.
She’s young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
She’s the star of the County Down.”

Chorus

I’ve travelled a bit, but never was hit
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
To the charms of young Rose McCann.
I’d a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did I meet with in shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the star of the County Down.

Chorus

At the crossroads fair I’ll be surely there
And I’ll dress in my Sunday clothes
And I’ll try sheep’s eyes, and deludhering lies
On the heart of the nut-brown rose.
No pipe I’ll smoke, no horse I’ll yoke
Though with rust my plow turns brown
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.

Chorus


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raggle taggle gypsy


There were three old gypsies came to our hall door
they came brave and boldly-o
And one sang high and the other sang low
and the other sang a raggle taggle gypsy-o

It was upstairs downstairs the lady went
put on her suit of leather-o
And there was a cry from around the door
she’s away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o

It was late that night when the Lord came in
enquiring for his lady-o
And the servant girl she said to the Lord
She’s away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o

Then saddle for me my milk white steed
– my big horse is not speedy-o
And I will ride till I seek my bride
she’s away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o

Now he rode East and he rode West
he rode North and South also
Until he came to a wide open plain
it was there that he spied his lady-o

How could you leave your goose feather bed
your blankeys strewn so comely-o?
And how could you leave your newly wedded Lord
all for a raggle taggle gypsy-o?

What care I for my goose feather bed
wi’ blankets strewn so comely-o?
Tonight I lie in a wide open field
in the arms of a raggle taggle gypsy-o

How could you leave your house and your land?
how could you leave your money-o?
How could you leave your only wedded Lord
all for a raggle taggle gypsy-o?

What care I for my house and my land?
what care I for my money-o?
I’d rather have a kiss from the yellow gypsy’s lips
I’m away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o!



25 Responses to The words to over thirty well known Irish traditional ballads and songs

  1. “Caledonia” is not a traditional Irish song at all, it is a modern Scottish Folk song by Dougie Maclean. Caledonia is the Roman name for Scotland.

  2. Avatar Dave Conlin
    Dave Conlin says:

    Glad to have found a page with tunes that make me suspect you might be able to help. Way back when I was a young kid (50 plus years ago), I heard an old irish song on the AM radio and have been searching for it ever since. Wonder if you might have a clue? It seems the story line was about a guy who was out drinking late and the wife would not let him back in the house. I can hum some of the melody, but don’t know the words at all, other than I remember a word something like “taddende” and the line in the chorus that was repeated a few times “… Oh let me in the sane necht, sane e, e necht…” It has always stuck in my memory as a happy tune, but I have never found any sign of what it might be. Would really appreciate any tips.

    • I’m looking for one too…wonder if it’s the same? The song I recall has a section where no words are but it becomes upbeat with many note fluctuations…everyone in the bar hums along. It’s been performed on guitar. I’ve spent hours searching but have no leads, no luck. It’s so incredibly catchy, I’m astounded that I can’t find it. This wordless chorus section is the most popular part of the song. Any help would be appreciated.

      I loved the playlist in this site…..love me some U2!!!

  3. There should be on here the lyrics of a good song by Joe Monks called ”The Ireland Of Tomorrow” released as a single by an Irish outfit called Dennis Bowler & the Sunvalley Boys from Kerry. in 1972. which reached in August that year, No.6 in the Irish Top 20. Cyril Wilkinson Carnew, Co. Wicklow.

  4. hey, I dont supose the song ye are looking for is “seven drunken nights”? It sounds close to the discription but not sure hope this helps 🙂

  5. Avatar Maggie warnock
    Maggie warnock says:

    I have no luck finding the lyrics for a song containing the following words: Where are you going, What are you doing? Tell me your name says I. Lift up your head my bonnie wee lass . Dinna you be so shy

  6. Avatar steven o dalaigh
    steven o dalaigh says:

    I think the song you are looking for is seven drunken nights famously sung by the Dubliners.

  7. I’m looking for an Irish song about returning to donegal….it starts like this…it seems Ike only yesterday I sailed from donegal……then it finishes with “and now that I’m going again back to dear old donegal my friends will meet me on the pier and greet me with a smile …..” ….”meet hannigan, lanigan Duffy McGuffey malackey Malone…..something like this….I do not know the title but would love to get the lyrics. Thanks.
    Anne

  8. Avatar Christopher starrs
    Christopher starrs says:

    I’m looking for a tune with the words ” on the motorway just the other night I saw a star glittering to my right” I thought it was sung by Paddy Reilly?…

  9. Avatar Paddy Ryan
    Paddy Ryan says:

    Nice selection of good songs I like thanks a million

  10. Avatar Paddy Ryan
    Paddy Ryan says:

    Nice selection of the songs I like thanks a million

  11. Dirty Old Town is not an Irish song. It was written by Ewan MacColl about Salford.

    • Avatar Annette
      Annette says:

      Half this list is non Irish . ….. .and Awkward Annie ????? Ms Rusby is definitely NOT on the spectrum . Caledonia – the clue is in the title . I could go on 😡😡

  12. Guys – what a useful site. My mother is 83 and came out with a string of words from an Irish / Gypsy song. ‘O how could a poor gypsy maiden like me ever …..’ Not much to go on but can anyone put a title to the song. It would bring her much pleasure.

    Many thanks

    • Here are a few more words that might help your search ~ good luck
      “Oh save my life, my pretty fair maid …. Oh can a poor gypsy maiden like me. Ever hope the proud bride of a noble to be.

    • The song’s first line is mentioned in The Troll Garden and Selected Stories by Willa Cather

  13. Avatar Lee Gibson
    Lee Gibson says:

    I am looking for a song that my mum used to sing when i was a wee girl. all i can remember about it is that it was about a mum and her baby out in the snow, and the only lyric i remember is “the babys toes and fingers were frozen to the ground”. any help in finding this song would be greatly appreciated thank you

  14. Avatar Kairi Gainsborough
    Kairi Gainsborough says:

    The lyrics to some of these songs are really interesting. I had no idea what to expect when I came across traditional Irish folk music. I really wish I knew the tune to some of these songs, like Awkward Annie. It sounds like a love song that is meant to be funny, but I bet hearing the tune would make the meaning more clear.

  15. I’m actually looking for a song with the lriycs woke up this morning with broken hair.

    If anyone knows this song please let me know. I heard it the night before St Patrick’s day. So I assume it’s an Irish song.

    I will also let you all know if I find h songs you’re looking for.

  16. The song about the Creole girl and Lake Ponchartrain must not be Irish. That’s Louisiana through and through 🙂

  17. Avatar Jack Juhasz
    Jack Juhasz says:

    I’m 71, and my gram was a Mcgregor. Listening to the Cleveland ,Oh radio 1420 am. The Irish station, Tears in my eyes. Bless all of you !

  18. Love the banter,glad to be able to read the lyrics as I can’t always decipher the words when sung.

  19. Avatar Brenda Murphy
    Brenda Murphy says:

    I really hope you can help me, I’m looking for the words of an Irish song about every cottage having a table, I heard it once but can’t find it again. It’s driving me crazy searching for it. Thanks for the hard work put into this site.