Lyrics to Irish Songs

It's amazing how often we sing these Irish songs, or hear people singing them without realizing their Irish roots. I used to love Billy Boy and The Wild Colonial Boy when I was younger. It wasn't until recently I realized thet they were of Irish Origin. It just goes to show how far abroad Irish culture has traveled!

Irish Songs - Celtic Cross

Though it doesn't fit into the category of Irish songs, I've include the Celtic Blessing, as it sings to the soul!

Celtic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
until we meet again.
May the rains fall softly upon your face,
until we meet again.
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

This has got to be THE most popular of all Irish songs, at least in the top two with "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling".

Irish Songs - Danny Boy

O Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen and down the mountainside
The summer's gone and all the roses falling
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
O Danny boy, O Danny boy, I love you so.

But if ye come and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft, your tread above me
And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be
For you will bend and tell me that you love me
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.

Frederick Edward Weatherly, 1848-1929

Nobody captures the saga of everyday life in a story quite like the Irish. As Irish songs go, this one is not so well known outside of Ireland, but believe it or not, a musician in Bermuda used to include it in his repertoire and would play it often. It's a fun, catchy tune.

Irish Songs - Are Ye Right There Michael

You may talk of Columbus's sailing
Across the Atlantical Sea
But he never tried to go railing
From Ennis as far as Kilkee
You run for the train in the morning,
The excursion train starting at eight
You're there when the clock gives the warnin'
And there for an hour you'll wait
And as you're waiting in the train,
You'll hear the guard sing this refrain-

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Do you think that we'll be there before the night?
Ye've been so long in startin',
That ye couldn't say for startin'
Still ye might now, Michael,
So ye might!

They find out where the engine's been hiding,
And it drags you to Sweet Corofin;
Says the guard, Back her down on the siding
There's the goods from Kilrush comin' in.
Perhaps it comes in two hours,
Perhaps it breaks down on the way;
If it does, says the guard, be the powers,
We're here for the rest of the day!

And while you sit and curse your luck
The train backs down into a truck.

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Have ye got the parcel there for Mrs. White?
Ye haven't, oh begorra,
Say it's comin' down tomorra -
And well it might now, Michael,
So it might.

At Lahinch the sea shines like a jewel,
With joy you are ready to shout,
When the stoker cries out, There's no fuel,
And the fire's taytotally out.
But hand up that bit of log there -
I'll soon have ye out of the fix;
There's fine clamp of turf in the bog there.
And the rest go a-gatherin' sticks.

And while you're breakin' bits of tree,
You hear some wise remarks like these -

Are ye right there, Michael? Are ye right?
Do ye think that you can get the fire to light?
Oh an hour you'll require,
For the turf it might be drier -
Well it might now, Michael,
So it might.

One of the Irish songs we used to sing in pre-school back in Bermuda!

Irish Songs - Billy Boy (Irish version)

Where have you been all the day,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Where have you been all the day,
Me Billy Boy?
I've been out with Nancy Gray,
And she's stolen me heart away,
She's me Nancy, tickled me fancy,
Oh me charmin' Billy Boy.

Is she fit to be a wife?
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Is she fit to be a wife?
me Billy Boy?
She's as fit to be a wife,
As a fork fits to a knife.
She's me Nancy, tickled me fancy,
Oh me charmin' Billy Boy.

Irish songs make great Pub tunes, and this song must have been sung in every Pub in the world. If it hasn't they're missing out on a great sing-a-long!

Irish Songs - The Wild Colonial Boy

There was a wild colonial boy, Jack Doolan was his name
Of poor but honest parents he was born in Castlemaine
He was his father's only hope, his mother's only joy,
The pride of both his parents was the wild colonial boy.

So come all me hearties, we'll range the mountainside
Together we will plunder; together we will ride.
We'll scour along the valleys, and gallop o're the plains
We scorn to live in slavery bound down with iron chains.

In sixty-one this darling boy commenced his wild career.
With a heart that knew no danger, no foeman did he fear.
He held up the Beechworth mailcoach and he robbed Judge MacEvoy Who trembled and gave up his gold to the wild colonial boy.

One day as he was riding the mountainside along,
A-listening to the little birds their pleasant laughing song
Three mounted troopers came in view, Kelly, Davis and Fitzroy
And thought that they would capture him, the wild colonial boy.

'Surrender now Jack Doolan, you see there's three to one
Surrender now Jack Doolan, you daring highwayman!'
He drew a pistol from his belt and twirled it like a toy.
'I'll fight but I won't surrender,' said the wild colonial boy.

He fired at Trooper Kelly and brought him to the ground,
And in return from Davis received a mortal wound.
All shattered through the jaws he lay, still firing at Fitzroy.
And that's the way they captured him, the wild colonial boy.

Irish songs often spin a colorful yarn, and this one is no exception!

Irish Songs - The Devil and Bailiff Maglynn

One fine sunny evening last summer,
I was straying along by the sea,
When a pair of quare playboys a-roving
before me I happened to see.
Now to learn what these boy-os were up to
A trifle I hastened me walk,
For I thought I could learn their profession
When I got within range of their talk.

Now, one of these boys was the devil
And the other was Baliff McGlynn,
And the one was as black as the other
And both were as ugly as sin.
Says the old boy, says he, "I'm the devil,
And you are a baliff, I see."
"Ah! 'tis the devil himself," cries the baliff,
"Now that beats the devil," says he.

A gossoon ran out from a cottage
and took him up over the fields.
"May the devil take you," said his mother,
As she rattled a stone at his heels.
"Ah now, why don't you take the young rascal,
your highness?" the baliff he cried.
"It was not from her heart that she said it,"
the devil he smiling replied.

Close by a small patch of potatoes
A banbh was striving to dig,
When the owner come out and she cried,
"May the devil take you for a pig!"
Said the baliff, "Now that's a fine offer.
Why not take the banbh?" says he.
"It was but with her lips that she said it,
And that's not sufficient for me."

As they jogged on, the gossoon espyed them,
and into his mother he sped,
Crying, "Mother!" says he, "There's a baliff!"
She clasped her two hands and she said,
"May the devil take that ugly baliff!"
Said the old boy, "Bedad! That'll do.
It was straight from her heart that she said it,
So Baliff McGlynn, I'll take you."

Humor and romance are two staples of Irish songs, and of the Irish themselves!

Irish Songs - The Maid Who Sold her Barley

It's cold and raw the north winds blow
Black in the morning early,
When all the hills were covered with snow
Oh then it was winter fairly.
As I was riding o'er the moor
I met a farmer's daughter
Her cherry cheeks and slow-black hair
The caused my heart to falter.

I bowed my bonnet very low
To let her know my meaning.
She answered with a courteous smile
Here looks they were engaging.
"where are you bound my pretty maid
It's now in the morning early?"
The answer that she made to me,
"Kind sir, to sell my barley."

"Now twenty guineas I've in my purse
And twenty more that's yearly.
You need not go to the market town
For I'll buy all your barley.
If twenty guineas would gain the heart
Of the maid I love so dearly,
All for to tarry with me one night
And go home in the morning early."

As I was riding o'er the moor
The very evening after,
It was my fortune for to meet
The farmer's only daughter.
Although the weather being cold and raw
With her I thought to parley
The answer that she made to me,
"Kind sir, I've sold my barley."

Okay, so IT IS the Mother of all Irish songs!

Irish Songs - When Irish Eyes are Smiling

There's a tear in your eye,
And I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile,
Sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's
Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while
And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright.
Like the linnet's sweet song,
Crooning all the day long,
Comes your laughter and light.
For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne'er a real care or regret;
And while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth's hours,
Let us smile each chance we get.

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Here's Where to go to Sing Irish Songs While You're in Ireland