"The Irish Rover" as written by and Traditional....
On the fourth of July eighteen hundred and six
We set sail from the sweet cove of Cork
We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks
For the grand city hall in New York
'Twas a wonderful craft, she was rigged fore-and-aft
And oh, how the wild winds drove her
She'd stood several blasts, she had twenty-seven masts
And we called her the Irish Rover

We had one million bags of the best Sligo rags
We had two million barrels of stones
We had three million sides of old blind horses' hides
We had four million barrels of bones
We had five million hogs, had six million dogs
Seven million barrels of porter
We had eight million bales of old nanny goats' tails
In the hold of the Irish Rover

There was old Mickey Coote who played hard on his flute
When the ladies lined up for his set
He was tootin' with skill for each sparkling quadrille
Though the dancers were fluther'd and bet
With his sparse witty talk he was cock of the walk
And he rolled the dames under and over
They all knew at a glance when he took up his stance
And he sailed in the Irish Rover

There was Barney McGee from the banks of the Lee
There was Hogan from County Tyrone
There was Jimmy McGurk who was scarred stiff of work
And a man from Westmeath called Malone
There was Slugger O'Toole who was drunk as a rule
And fighting Bill Tracey from Dover
And your man Mick McCann from the banks of the Bann
Was the skipper of the Irish Rover

For a sailor it's always a bother in life
It's so lonesome by night and by day
'Til he launch for the shore and this charming young whore
Who will melt all his troubles away
All the noise and the rout, swillin' poitín and stout
For him soon the torment's over
Of the love of a maid, he's never afraid
An old sot from the Irish Rover

We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out
And the ship lost its way in a fog
And that whale of the crew was reduced down to two
Just meself and the captain's old dog
Then the ship struck a rock, oh Lord what a shock
The bulkhead was turned right over
Turned nine times around, and the poor old dog was drowned
I'm the last of the Irish Rover


Lyrics submitted by mizchiff

"The Irish Rover" as written by James Thirkhill Fearnley Philip Chevron

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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The Irish Rover song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment"Eight million bales of old nanny goats tails..." Classic
    xXRIOXxon May 10, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNo, the Irish Rover was fictitious. But she would have been impressive! 27 masts! Even the Cutty Sark only had 3!

    Does anyone know about the crew? Were any of them based on real people? "Fightin' Bill Treacy" (also spelt Tracey or Tracy) especially interest me. Can anyone help?

    Many thanks!
    ChristoTraceyon December 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song tells us a story from the perspective of someone bragging about what has happened to him.
    But everything he tells is so over the top and impossible it's obvious he all made it up.
    In the last verse he says he's the only survivor. So you have to believe him.
    Shillelaghon April 08, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of me faves. Was The Irish Rover a real ship?
    xbohemian_dreamer_xon July 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo idea if the eponymous ship existed or not, but the Irish Rover as a song has been covered many times by a lot of different groups - it's a traditional Irish folk song. :)
    mizchiffon September 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou missed the fourth verse!
    wireless89on September 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA tall tale pub boast about a great ship whose described size and cargo are way beyond anything imaginable...but you have to believe the teller, because he's the only member of the crew left alive.

    "Oh yeah, well our ship had 27 masts..."
    Bumblyjackon March 17, 2015   Link

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