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 ship with "twenty-seven masts", 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 when the ship sinks. The narrator becomes the only survivor, "the last of the Irish Rover", leaving 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 chronological order.
- 1960 - Dominic Behan on his album The Irish Rover
- 1962 - The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on their album Hearty and Hellish
- 1966 - The Irish Rovers on their début album, The First of the Irish Rovers
- 1975 - Ronnie Drew on his self-titled début solo 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.
- 1994 - Orthodox Celts on their self-titled début album
- 1996 - The Irish Descendants on their album Livin' on the Edge
- 1998 - The Corsairs on their album The RED One
- 2000 - Sons of Maxwell on their album Sailor's Story
- 2001 - The Tossers on their album Communication & Conviction: Last Seven Years
- 2003 - Off Kilter on their album Celtic Armadillo
- 2005 - Blaggards on their album Standards
- 2005 - Bounding Main on their album Lost at Sea, with an added chorus
- 2005 - Liam Clancy on his album Yes... Those Were The Days: The Essential Liam Clancy
- 2007 - Johnny Logan on his album, The Irish Connection
- 2007 - Tommy Makem on the posthumous release The Legendary Tommy Makem Collection
- 2009 - Culann's Hounds on their album One for the Road
- 2010 - The High Kings on their album Memory Lane
- 2010 - Patrick Clifford on his album American Wake
- 2011 - Dropkick Murphys on their album Going Out in Style
- 2011 - Fiddler's Green on their album Wall of Folk
- 2012 - The Mudmen on their album Donegal Danny
- 2012 - Santiano on their album Bis ans Ende der Welt
- James Prescott (3 February 2014). "James Prescott - Folk Song Index In - Je". Telusplanet.net. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- "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 4 June 2015.