The Rare Old Mountain Dew

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"The Rare Old Mountain Dew" is an Irish folk song dating from 1882.


It was written by Edward Harrigan with music by David Braham, from the Irish drama The Blackbird.[1] It was printed in "Irish street Ballads", 1916. It was later recorded under the title The Rare Old Mountain Dew. It is about the intoxicating properties of Irish moonshine, or Poitín. The earliest recording is by John Griffin, 1927 on the Columbia label, New York, under its original title.

It is sung to the traditional air "The Girl I Left Behind" (also known as "Brighton Camp").

The song is referenced in The Pogues' song "Fairytale of New York":

And then he sang a song
The Rare Auld Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you.



Vocables are often sung with the song, either after every second verse or once at the beginning and once at the end, to the same tune as the lyrics. While these vocables vary with the singer, one typical version is "hi dee diddley idle dum, hi dee doodle dydle dum, hi dee doo dye diddly aye day", repeated once.


  1. ^ The Blackbird, published by W. A. Pond, New York, 1882.

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