Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral

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The original sheet music

"Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)" is a classic Irish-American song that was originally written in 1913 by composer James Royce Shannon (1881–1946) for the Tin Pan Alley musical Shameen Dhu. The original recording of the song, by Chauncey Olcott, peaked at #1 on the music charts. The song was brought back to prominence by Bing Crosby's performance in 1944's Going My Way. Crosby's single sold over a million copies and peaked at #4 on the Billboard music charts


Released in 1913, the song was a #1 hit for Chauncey Olcott.

"Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)" was written by lyricist and actor Shannon in 1913 for the play Shameen Dhu ("Black-Haired Jimmy" or "Dark Jimmy").[1][2][3][4][5] Prior to the play's debut, singer Chauncey Olcott took it into the studio to record it on July 30, 1913.[6] Popular, his single peaked at #1 on the music charts in December 1913.[6][7][8]

In 1944, Bing Crosby released a version of the song which brought it to public attention again. First performed in the film Going My Way, it was subsequently released as a single that sold over a million copies and peaked at #4 on Billboard music charts.[1] His first recording was made on July 7, 1944[9] but mechanical difficulties with the matrix led to it being recorded again on July 17, 1945. It is this version which appears on subsequent LPs and CDs.[10] In 1945, the Crosby version of the song was also featured in the film Nob Hill.[8]

Other versions[edit]

In 1976, Richard Manuel and Van Morrison sang the song, as "Tura Lura Lural (That's An Irish Lullaby)", during The Band's farewell concert The Last Waltz. "Come On, Eileen," a #1 U.K. chart single from the English band Dexys Midnight Runners, includes a chorus with the lines "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra Too-Ra-Loo-Rye, Ay / And you'll hum this tune forever." The song appeared on their 1982 album titled Too-Rye-Ay. Steve Martin performed the song for comic effect in the film Housesitter. The song also featured memorably in a Season 2, Episode 8[11] cold open of Cheers, as the denizens of the bar sang the lullaby over the telephone to an infant Tortelli.

Others who have recorded the song include Bobby Darin, Connie Francis, Perry Como, The Ames Brothers, Regis Philbin, Jessi Colter, Slim Whitman, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, The Irish Tenors, Rosemary Clooney, Kate Smith, Gene Autry, Frances Faye, John Gary, Kenny Loggins, and Piccolo Coro Mariele Ventre dell'Antoniano.

Original lyrics[edit]

These are the original lyrics of the song as published in 1913 by Shannon through M. Witmark & Sons.[4]

[Verse 1]
Over in Killarney, many years ago
My Mother sang a song to me in tones so sweet and low,
Just a simple little ditty, in her good ould Irish way,
And I'd give the world if she could sing That song to me this day.

Hush now don't you cry!
That's an Irish lullaby.

[Verse 2]
Oft, in dreams I wander To that cot again,
I feel her arms a huggin' me As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a hummin' To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep Outside the cabin door.

[Repeat refrain]


  1. ^ a b Keating, Geoffrey; O'Laughlin, Michael C. (1983). History of Ireland. Irish Roots Cafe. pp. 20–22. ISBN 978-0-940134-47-8.
  2. ^ "March, 2007 Searching for the Irish in Irish American Music".
  3. ^ The Broadway League. "Shameen Dhu - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information".
  4. ^ a b Shannon, Royce. "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullabye)", 1913. M. Witmark & Sons.
  5. ^ "SHAMEEN DHU [musical show]:Bibliographic Record Description". Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  6. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William (2 August 2004). Breaking Records: 100 Years of Hits. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-135-94719-4.
  7. ^ Dean, Maury (1 January 2003). Rock and Roll: Gold Rush. Algora Publishing. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-87586-227-9.
  8. ^ a b Tyler, Don (2 April 2007). Hit Songs, 1900-1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era. McFarland. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7864-2946-2.
  9. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Reynolds, Fred. The Crosby Collection 1926-1977 (Part Three: 1942-1950 ed.). John Joyce. pp. 73–74.
  11. ^