The Irish Rover
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|"The Irish Rover"|
|Single by The Pogues and The Dubliners|
|B-side||"The Rare Old Mountain Dew"|
|Format||7" and 12" Vinyl|
|The Pogues singles chronology|
"The Irish Rover" is an Irish folk song about a magnificent, though improbable, sailing ship that reaches an unfortunate end. It has been recorded by numerous artists, some of whom have made changes to the lyrics over time.
The song describes a gigantic twenty-seven masted ship with a colourful crew and varied types of cargo in enormous amounts. The verses grow successively more extravagant about the wonders of the great ship. The seven-year voyage comes to a disastrous end after losing its way in the fog, striking a rock, and spinning nine times around before sinking with most of the crew and the captain's old dog aboard – everyone except the singer, who in the last line of the song is revealed to be the lone survivor of The Irish Rover's ill-fated final voyage, so there is no one else alive to contradict the tale.
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.
The song details a cargo of the fictional ship which betrays the story to be heavily embellished. The lyrics vary from rendition to rendition, but typically note that the cargo of The Irish Rover included -
- Bricks (undefined quantity)
- Bales of old billy goats' tails (1 million)
- Buckets of stones (2 million)
- Blind horses' hides (3 million)
- Packets of bones (4 million)
- Hogs (5 million)
- Dogs (6 million)
- Whores (6 million)
- Barrels of porter (7 million)
- Bags of the best Sligo rags (8 million)
(The Pogues & The Dubliners single)
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||8|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||25|
- "The Irish Rover" is one of the most popular Irish-Gaelic Scottish country dances and is set to the music of the song.
- The Irish Rovers, created in 1963, were named after the traditional song "The Irish Rover" by their mother in Ballymena, N. Ireland. They first recorded the song on their 1966 debut album, The First of the Irish Rovers.
- Slugger O'Toole – a character referred to in "The Irish Rover" has been adopted as the name of a major political website in Northern Ireland.
- In issue 26 of DC/Vertigo series Preacher, when Cassidy describes his drinking buddies in New York City, the names are all taken from the Irish Rover.
"The Irish Rover" has been recorded many times. Versions are listed below by notable artists in descending chronological order.
- 2012 - Santiano on their album Bis ans Ende der Welt
- 2012 - The Mudmen on their album Donegal Danny
- 2011 - Fiddler's Green on their album Wall of Folk
- 2011 - Dropkick Murphys on their album Going Out in Style
- 2010 - Patrick Clifford on his album American Wake
- 2010 - The High Kings on their album Memory Lane
- 2009 - Culann's Hounds on their album One for the Road
- 2007 - Tommy Makem on the posthumous release The Legendary Tommy Makem Collection
- 2007 - Johnny Logan on his album, The Irish Connection
- 2005 - Liam Clancy on his album Yes... Those Were The Days: The Essential Liam Clancy
- 2005 - Bounding Main on their album Lost at Sea, with an added chorus
- 2005 - Blaggards on their album Standards
- 2003 - Off Kilter on their album Celtic Armadillo
- 2001 - The Tossers on their album Communication & Conviction: Last Seven Years
- 2000 - Sons of Maxwell on their album Sailor's Story
- 1998 - The Corsairs on their album The RED One
- 1996 - The Irish Descendants on their album Livin' on the Edge
- 1994 - Orthodox Celts on their self-titled début album
- 1987 - The Dubliners with The Pogues on The Dubliners's album 25 Years Celebration. When released as a single in the same year this version reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart, number 1 in the Irish Singles Chart and number 45 in the Euro Chart.
- 1975 - Ronnie Drew on his self-titled début solo album
- 1966 - The Irish Rovers on their début album, The First of the Irish Rovers
- 1962 - The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on their album Hearty and Hellish
- 1960 - Dominic Behan on his album The Irish Rover
- James Prescott (2014-02-03). "James Prescott - Folk Song Index In - Je". Telusplanet.net. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
- "Chart Track: Week 00, 1967". Irish Singles Chart.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Charts.nz – The Dubliners Man – Maids When You're Young". Top 40 Singles.
- "Dominic Behan - The Irish Rover (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04.