Rocky Road to Dublin

I have this song stuck in my head.
You may remember it from the boxing scene in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie.


The movie version is sung by Luke Kelly of The Dubliners.


Originvia Wikipedia

The words were written by D.K. Gavan, “The Galway Poet”, for the English music hall performer Harry Clifton (1824-1872), who popularised the song.

The song describes the many 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 an migrant agricultural labourer. He begins his journey by biding 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, but is robbed of his meagre possessions, and mocked for his Connacht accent. He hops a ship in the habour 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. 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.


Lyrics

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 !


Last but not least, here’s an energetic version by The High Kings.


Good song to play loud on those late nights when you need that kick in the butt to keep working.

All for now – time for a pint then back to work…

guinness-strength

About Jim Keefe

Jim Keefe is the current artist of the Sally Forth comic strip, he is also the writer and artist of the Flash Gordon comic strip - both available at ComicsKingdom.com. A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Keefe likewise teaches Comic Art. Teaching and speaking engagements include SVA in Manhattan, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs, The University of Minnesota and most recently the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
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