ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN

“Rocky Road to Dublin” is a fast-paced 19th century Irish song about a man’s experiences as he travels to Liverpool in England from his home in Tuam in Ireland. It is often performed instrumentally.
The song describes the troubles and travails that the protagonist encounters on this travels. At the beginning of the songs, the protagonist of the story states that he is “off to reap the corn” or intending to become a migrant agricultural labourer. He begins his journey by bidding farewell to his family and friends. He leaves his hometown of Tuam on foot, resting in Mullingar where the local women make fun of his clothes. 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 voyage.
While in the merry month of May from me home I started,
Left the girls of Tuam so sad and broken hearted,
Saluted father dear, kissed me darling mother,
Drank a pint of beer, me grief and tears to smother,
Then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born,
Cut a stout black thorn to banish ghosts and goblins;
Bought a pair of brogues rattling o’er the bogs
And fright’ning all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

In Mullingar that night I rested limbs so weary,
Started by daylight next morning blithe and early,
Took a drop of pure to keep me heartfrom sinking;
Thats a Paddy’s cure whenever he’s on drinking.
See the lassies smile, laughing all the while
At me curious style, ‘twould set your heart a bubblin’
Asked me was I hired, wages I required,
I was almost tired of the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

In Dublin next arrived, I thought it such a pity
To be soon deprived a view of that fine city.
So then I took a stroll, all among the quality;
Me bundle it was stole, all in a neat locality.
Something crossed me mind, when I looked behind,
No bundle could I find upon me stick a wobblin’
Enquiring for the rogue, they said me Connaught brogue
Wasn’t much in vogue on the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

From there I got away, me spirits never falling,
Landed on the quay, just as the ship was sailing.
The Captain at me roared, said that no room had he;
When I jumped aboard, a cabin found for Paddy.
Down among the pigs, played some hearty rigs,
Danced some hearty jigs, the water round me bubbling;
When off Holyhead I wished meself was dead,
Or better for instead on the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

Well the boys of Liverpool, when we safely landed,
Called meself a fool, I could no longer stand it.
Blood began to boil, temper I was losing;
Poor old Erin’s Isle they began abusing.
“Hurrah me soul” says I, me Shillelagh I let fly.
Some Galway boys were nigh and saw I was a hobble in,
With a load “hurray !” joined in the affray.
We quitely cleared the way for the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down
the rocky road and all the way to Dublin,
Whack follol de rah !