List of songs about Dublin

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This is a list of songs about Dublin, Ireland, including parts of the city such as individual neighborhoods and sections, and famous personages, arranged chronologically.

18th century[edit]

  • "The Night Before Larry Was Stretched" - about the night before a hanging, in old Newgate cant; recorded by Frank Harte. Other Dublin execution ballads from this period include "The Kilmainham Minit", "Luke Caffrey's Ghost" and "Larry's Ghost".[1][2]
  • "The Dublin Privateer", late 1700s[3]
  • "The Dublin Baker", late 1700s[3]
  • "The Dublin Tragedy, or, the Unfortunate Merchant's Daughter", late 1700s[3]
  • "Miss King of Dublin", late 1700s[3]
  • "The Country Recruit's Description of the Military", late 1700s[3]
  • "A New Song on the Police Guards", late 1700s[3]
  • "The May Bush", late 1700s[3]
  • "Arbour Hill" - written by Robert Emmet about the burial place of the 1798 insurgents.
  • "Lock Hospital" (also known as "St. James Hospital" and "The Unfortunate Rake") - Irish version of a song also found in Britain and the USA (where it developed into "The Dying Cowboy" and "St. James Infirmary)"[4]

19th century[edit]

  • "Ye Men of Sweet Liberties Hall" - written by Dubliner Zozimus (Michael Moran, 1794–1846) about the Dublin Liberties.[5]
  • "The Holly and Ivy Girl" - a Christmas song written by John Keegan (1809–1849).[6]
  • "Donnelly and Cooper" - relates a bout between the Dublin boxer and an Englishman, from about 1845[7]
  • "The Twangman" - a comical murder ballad attributed (by Dominic Behan) to Zozimus (Michael Moran).[5]
  • "Molly Malone" - probably the best-known song about Dublin.[8]
  • "Courtin' in the Kitchen" - a music-hall-type song made popular by Delia Murphy.[9]
  • "The Spanish Lady" - a man becomes enamoured of a Spanish lady; versions of this popular song were recorded by Al O'Donnell, the Clancy Brothers and the Dubliners.[5]
  • "The Little Beggarman" - sung to the melody of the "Red-Haired Boy", recorded by The Clancy Brothers.[10]
  • "General Guinness" - a song about the stout from Dublin, recorded by The Boys of the Lough.[11]
  • "Miss Brown of Dublin City" - a murder ballad related to "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter", recorded by Ed McCurdy.[5][12]
  • "'Twas in the end of King James's Street" - a romance ending in tragedy, from the Petrie collection[13]
  • "The Humours of Donnybrook Fair", 1830-1850 - at least three songs were written about Donnybrook Fair.[3]
  • "Hannah Healy, the Pride of Howth", c. 1840 - about a girl from Howth.[3]
  • "The Phenix of Fingal", c. 1840[3]
  • "Catherine Skelly, for the Drowning of her Child", c. 1850[3]
  • "Willy O", c. 1850[3]
  • "The Seducer Outwitted", c. 1850[3]
  • "Tim Finigan's Wake" - also known as "Finnegan's Wake" - mid 19th-century broadside and music-hall song published in New York, attributed to John F. Poole.[14] to an air called "The French Musician"[15][16]
  • "Sally and Johnny", c. 1854[3]
  • "The True-Lovers' Trip to the Strawberry Beds", c. 1854 - about a trip to a favourite courting spot.[3]
  • "The Night of the Ragman's Ball" - collected by Colm O'Lochlainn from a ballad singer in Thomas Street in 1913; melody, called "It was in Dublin city", is in the Petrie collection (1855). Luke Cheevers said it, and a follow-up, "The Ragman's Wake", was written by Tommy Winters, who died in WW1. Recorded by Frank Harte, The Dubliners.[15]
  • "The Rocky Road to Dublin" - a rollicking song written by Galwayman D. K. Gavan for music-hall artist Harry Clifton around 1863.[17][18]
  • "Lannigan's Ball" - written by Galwayman D. K. Gavan for popular music-hall artist Harry Clifton around 1863.[15][17]
  • "Dublin Jack of All Trades" - a broadside ballad from the 1860s recorded by The Johnstons, among others.[3]
  • "Tied my Toes to the Bed", c. 1870[3]
  • "The New Tramway", on the new horse tramway of the Dublin Tramway Company, 1872.[3]
  • "Waxies' Dargle" - about the annual outing to Ringsend by Dublin cobblers (waxies).[19]

1900 - 1950[edit]

  • "Girls of Dublin Town (Gals of Dublin Town)" - a shanty based on a real ship, the Shanandoah, captained by "Shotgun" Murphy
  • "The Pride of Pimlico" - a song about the Dublin Liberties written by Arthur Griffith.[2]
  • "The Cruise of the Calabar" - a comical song about a canal barge by Arthur Griffith[5]
  • "Twenty Men From Dublin Town" - written by Arthur Griffith, recorded by Danny Doyle
  • "Down by the Liffeyside (Fish and Chips)" - written by Peadar Kearney[5]
  • "Dying Rebel" - a song about the aftermath of the 1916 Rising in Dublin
  • "The Recruiting Sergeant" - Written by Dublin journalist Seamus O'Farrell (1886–1973) in 1915; recorded by, among others, Dominic Behan and The Black Brothers.
  • "Easy and Slow" - a song of somewhat constant innuendo set in Dublin's Liberties[5]
  • "Biddy Mulligan the Pride of the Coombe" - written by Seamas Kavanagh about a Dublin street-seller, made popular by Jimmy O'Dea.
  • "Daffodil Mulligan (Fresh Fish)" - written by Harry O'Donovan about Biddy Mulligan's daughter.
  • "The Charladies' Ball" - a comical song about Biddy Mulligan at a ball, written by Harry O'Donovan
  • "The Vamp of Inchicore" - written by Harry O'Donovan, recorded by Jimmy O'Dea
  • "Rathgar" - written by Harry O'Donovan, recorded by Jimmy O'Dea
  • "The Dublin Fusiliers" - comical song about the regiment, recorded by Jimmy O'Dea in the 1930s, later by the Dubliners.
  • "Hannigan's Hooley" - written by Cecil Sheridan, recorded by Maureen Potter
  • "I'm On My Way To Dublin Bay" by Owen J McCormack
  • "Kevin Barry" - about young medical student and Irish revolutionary Kevin Barry controversially executed during the Irish War of Independence[20]
  • "The Foggy Dew" - about the Easter Rising of 1916, written by Canon Charles O’Neill in 1919.
  • "The Row in the Town" - a song written by Peadar Kearney commemorating the 1916 Rising.
  • "Dublin City 1913" - the struggle from 1913 to 1916, written by Donagh MacDonagh[5]
  • "The Banks of the Dargle"

1950 - 2000[edit]

  • "The Auld Triangle" - by writer Brendan Behan, about his time in Mountjoy Prison
  • "The Dublin Saunter (Dublin Can Be Heaven)" - by Leo Maguire, made famous by Noel Purcell
  • "The Burning of the Abbey Theatre" - a comical song about the Abbey Theatre by Sylvester Gaffney (Leo Maguire).[21]
  • "Three Lovely Lasses from Kimmage" - a comical song by Sylvester Gaffney (Leo Maguire).[21]
  • "Dublin Me Darlin'" - written by Sylvester Gaffney (Leo Maguire), recorded by Danny Doyle.[22]
  • "Monto (Take Her Up To Monto)" - a song by George Hodnett about the famous red-light district around Montgomery Street in Dublin.[23]
  • "On Raglan Road" - Patrick Kavanagh poem to the 19th-century melody "The Dawning of the Day"[24]
  • "The Ferryman" - about the ferries on the River Liffey, by Pete St. John.[25]
  • "Ringsend Rose" - about a girl from Ringsend, written by Pete St. John.[25]
  • "Dublin Lady" - by singer/songwriter John Conolly.
  • "From Dublin With Love" - by Newfoundland singer/songwriter Ron Hynes
  • "The Black Dodder" - written and recorded by Dublin singer/songwriter/actor Mick Fitzgerald.
  • "Drink" - written and recorded by Dublin singer/songwriter/actor Mick Fitzgerald.
  • "Dublin you live in my heart" - by Ian Campbell
  • "Dublin Town (Fly Me Home)"
  • "Dublin Take Me" - by Rab Noakes
  • "The Dublin Rambler" - recorded by the Dublin City Ramblers
  • "The Dublin Minstrel Boy (Luke Kelly)" - written and recorded by Paddy Reilly.
  • "Summer in Dublin" - written by Liam Reilly and recorded by Bagatelle[26]
  • "Leeson Street Lady" - recorded by Bagatelle.
  • "Anne Devlin" - about Robert Emmet's sweetheart, by Pete St John[25]
  • "Mother Redcaps" - song by Pete St John about a cherished music pub in the Dublin Liberties, closed in 2005[25]
  • "Danny Farrell" - a song about a traveller, by Pete St John, recorded by The Dubliners[25]
  • "Rosie Up in Moore Street" - about a Dublin street dealer, by Pete St John[25]
  • "Dicey Riley" - Dublin song about a woman who enjoys her little drop, with verses by Dominic Behan[27] and Tom Munnelly[5]
  • "The Zoological Gardens" - by Dominic Behan about Dublin Zoo[5]
  • "Come Out Ye Black and Tans" - British Army-taunting song written by Dominic Behan
  • "The Mero" - a song about a former cinema in Mary St., Dublin, popular with children, by Pete St. John[25]
  • "Johnie McGory" - a song about children, by Pete St John, recorded by The Dubliners[25]
  • "Ringsend Boatman" - by Pete St John[25]
  • "The Maid From Cabra West" - an Irish version of an English song, sung by Frank Harte[5]
  • "Dublin City in 1962" - written by musician and footballer Dermot O'Brien
  • "Dublin in my Tears" - written by Dubliner Brendan Phelan and recorded by the Dublin City Ramblers[5]
  • "Dublin" - written and recorded by Phil Lynott in 1972
  • "Inner City Song" - written by harmonica-player Don Baker about 1974 which became a hit for the Jolly Beggarmen (with Baker on harmonica and Johnny Carroll on vocals)
  • "Meet Me At The Pillar" - about the 1916 Rising, by Seán and Frank O'Meara; recorded by Jim McCann, the Dublin City Ramblers, and others.
  • "My Last Farewell" - by Seán and Frank O'Meara, based on Padraic Pearse's last letter; recorded by the Barleycorn (vocals by Derek McCormack).
  • "Dublin in the Rare Old Times" - 1980s song about Dublin before the 1960s (composer: Pete St. John)[24]
  • "Grace" - written in 1985 by Frank and Seán O'Meara about Grace Gifford; recorded by Anthony Kearns, the Wolfe Tones and others.
  • "My Dublin Bay" - composed by Waterford-born May O'Higgins.
  • "Old Dublin Town" by Pete St. John
  • "At the Metropole" - written by Paul Barrett, recorded by Metropolis in 1981.
  • "The Rose of Inchicore" - written by Dublin singer/songwriter Mick Fitzgerald about a girl from Inchicore
  • "Farewell to Dublin" - written and performed by Brian Warfield
  • "Second World Song" - written by David McDonagh, recorded by the Dubliners.
  • "D'Ya Remember Jem" - recorded by Ronnie Drew

Since 2000[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harte, Frank, Dublin Street Songs, Topic, 1967
  2. ^ a b O Lochlann, Colm (1965). More Irish Street Ballads. Dublin: Three Candles Press. ISBN 0-330-25317-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Hugh Shields. Old Dublin Songs. Folk Music Society of Ireland, Dublin, 1988. ISBN 0-905733-04-5
  4. ^ A.L.Lloyd, Folksong in England (London, 1967), pp. 219-220. It was collected in County Cork in 1848 and the singer said he learned it in Dublin in 1790.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Harte, Frank, Songs of Dublin, (ed.), 1978, Gilbert Dalton, Dublin and 1993, Ossian Publications, Cork. ISBN 0-946005-51-6
  6. ^ The Irishman, Vol. 1 No. 1, 1849
  7. ^ Waltz, Robert B.; Engle, David G. "Donnelly and Cooper". The Traditional Ballad Index. California State University, Fresno. Retrieved 7 Aug 2010. 
  8. ^ "Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)". (quoting book by Sean Murphy). 2002. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  9. ^ O'Hara, Aidan (1997). I'll live till I die: Drumlin Publications. Leitrim: [1]. ISBN 1-873437-17-X. 
  10. ^ Brothers, Clancy (1969). The Irish Songbook. New York: Wise Publications. ISBN 0-86001-280-8. 
  11. ^ Boys Of The Lough - Live At Passim, 1974
  12. ^ Tobar an Dualchais
  13. ^ George Petrie: Old Irish Folk Music and Song (1855)
  14. ^ John K. Casey: The Rising of the Moon, and other Ballads, Songs and Legends
  15. ^ a b c O Lochlann, Colm (1939). Irish Street Ballads. Dublin: Three Candles Press. ISBN 0-330-25316-6. 
  16. ^ The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. IV, p. 294
  17. ^ a b The Era magazine, 22 February 1863
  18. ^ Walton, Martin. Treasury of Irish Songs and Ballads. Dublin: Walton's Music. 
  19. ^ Quidnunc (9 October 1933). "An Irishman's Diary". The Irish Times. p. 4. 
  20. ^ Moore, Christy (2000). One Voice. London: Lir/Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-76839-8. 
  21. ^ a b Gaffney: Sing an Irish song Book 8: popular parodies for platform and parties
  22. ^ The Balladeers
  23. ^ Obituary (24 September 1990). "George Desmond Hodnett". The Irish Times. 
  24. ^ a b Conway, Pat (1982). Soodlum's Irish Ballad Book. New York: Oak publications. ISBN 978-0-8256-0284-9. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i St John, Pete (2007). "Complete list of songs". Web site. Pete St. John/Saint Music. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  26. ^ "Bagatelle". 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2013-01-01. 
  27. ^ Dominic Behan: Ireland Sings (London, 1969)
  28. ^ a b Siobhán Long (20 May 2011). "Danny Ellis". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  29. ^ "The Ballad Of Ronnie Drew (2008)". 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2013-01-02.