Rocky Road to Dublin
The song performed by Christoph Nolte.
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The song describes the adventures, troubles and travails that the protagonist encounters on his travels. At the beginning of the songs, the protagonist of the story states that he is "off to reap the corn" meaning he is off to seek his fortune. He begins his journey by bidding farewell to his family and friends. He leaves his hometown of Tuam, County Galway on foot, resting in Mullingar where he charms the local women with his "curious style" his Galway brogue (accent) and swagger . He next arrives in the Irish capital city Dublin, and decides to tour the city, but is robbed of his meagre possessions. He attempts to locate the thief, but is mocked for his Connacht accent ("Connacht brogue wasn't much in vogue", The term brogue generally refers to an Irish accent). He hops a ship in the harbour headed for England, and is placed in the hold with the pigs where he experiences severe sea sickness off the coast of Holyhead, Wales. He arrives in the English city Liverpool where he is mocked by the locals because of his Irishness. Losing his temper, he engages them in a fight using his blackthorn shillelagh, but is outnumbered until a group of Irishmen from County Galway come to his rescue ("join in the affray"), the first people who have helped him on his trip.
The tune uses Dorian mode. It has a typical Irish rhythm, classified as a slip (or hop) jig in 9/8 timing. An extra beat or two between chorus and verse is often added. Sometimes, the final line in the verses is sung with 7 strong musical beats (9/8 + 12/8):
- And frighten all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin. (every strong musical beat is in bold)
Rather than with 6 strong musical beats (9/8 + 9/8):
- And frighten all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Version reported by Manus O'Connor in 1901.|
Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road And all the way to Dublin, whack-fol-la-de-da
There are many variations in the lyrics depending on the singer. For instance "June" in the first line is often replaced by "May". Most interpretations of the twentieth century omit the second and antepenultimate couplets, and replace the original chorus by the following:
- One two three four five,
- Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road
- And all the way to Dublin, whack-fol-la-de-da !
The song serves as the first movement of Peter Graham's composition Gaelforce, which exists in versions for brass band (2000, commissioned by Foden's Band) and concert band (2001). The main theme and chorus are repeated four times, rather than five as in most modern vocal performances.
- The Dubliners in 1964 (this version is featured in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes)
- The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem in 1964
- Luke Kelly in 1973
- Ryan's Fancy in 1973
- Paddy Reilly in 1985
- The Pogues in 1988
- Bert Jansch in 1990
- Fiddler's Green in 1992
- The Irish Descendants in 1993
- The Young Dubliners in 1994
- The Chieftains featuring with The Rolling Stones on The Long Black Veil in 1995
- The Rolling Stones in 1995
- Blood or Whiskey in 1996
- Clandestine in 1996
- The Permanent Cure in 1996
- Gaelic Storm in 1998
- Orthodox Celts on Green Roses in 1999
- Belfast Food on album Zašto zato in 2000
- Christy Moore in 2000
- Dropkick Murphys in 2001 and 2002
- Brobdingnagian Bards in 2002
- Cruachan in 2002
- Mad Dog Mcrea in 2002
- Blaggards in 2005
- Bad Haggis in 2005
- Barleyjuice in 2006
- Damien Dempsey in 2008
- The High Kings in 2008
- The Tossers in 2008
- Johnny Logan in 2008, Irishman in America
- Culann's Hounds in 2008
- Celtic Thunder in 2013
- Damien Leith in 2015, from his album Songs From Ireland
- The Era magazine, 22 February 1863
- Attribution on sheet music
- Irish come-all-ye's; a repository of ancient Irish songs and ballads—comprising patriotic, descriptive, historical and humorous gems, characteristic of the Irish race (1901), Manus O'Connor.
- Peter Graham, compositions for brass band
- Peter Graham, compositions for concert band