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Irish Rover, The - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Hmmn... well... it's a humours song about a ship with twenty-seven masts and a rather eccentric crew.  Nobody seems to know much about where it comes from, except that it's probably from the nineteenth century, and that it may have been a music hall song...

...never mind.  Just enjoy the wacky lyrics and the infectious tune... 

The Irish Rover has been recorded by The Pogues and the Dubliners, as well as by The Clancy Brothers.

Chords

           G                      C

On the Fourth of July 1806 we set

G                 Em                D7

Sail from the sweet cove of Cork

              G                                      C 

We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks for the

G             D7             G

Grand City Hall in New York

           G                                  D7

'twas a wonderful craft, she was rigged for and aft and

 G                              D7

Oh, how the wild wind drove her

               G                                                   C 

She stood several blasts, she had twenty-seven masts and they

 

                      D7  G

Called her the Irish Rover

Lyrics

On the Fourth of July 1806 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 for and aft and oh, how the wild wind drove her
She stood 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 stone
We had three million sides of old blind horses hides, we had four million barrels of bones
We had five million hogs, and 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 a set
He was tootlin' with skill for each sparkling quadrille, though the dancers were fluther'd and bet
With his smart witty talk, he was cock of the walk and he rolled the dames under and over
They all knew at a glance when he took up his stance that 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 Treacy from Dover
And your man, Mike McCann from the banks of the Bann was the skipper on the Irish Rover

For a sailor it`s a bother of life, it`s so lonesome by night and by day 
When he longs for the shore and a charming young whore who will melt all his troubles away 
All the noise and the rout swillin` poitin and stout, for him soon is done and over 
Of the love of a maid he is never afraid, that ould salt 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 a crew was reduced down to two, just meself 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 old dog was drowned, I`m the last of the Irish Rover

Other Irish Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs