The Irish Rover

The Irish Rover is an Irish Folk Song performed by a variety of different performers which tells the tale of a magnificent sailing ship that was lost in a storm. Recordings of the song can date back as far as 1960 by Dominic Behan; with other notable performers including Dropkick Murphys The Clancy Brothers, and The Dubliners with The Pogues.


The Irish Rover according to the song was a magnificent although very improbable cargo ship which set sail from the Cobh of Cork featuring 23 masts. Whilst sailing the ship carried a variety of cargo including:

  • One Million bales of billy goats’ tails,
  • Two Million buckets of stones,
  • Three Million sides of old horses hides,
  • Four Million packets of bones,
  • Five Million hogs,
  • Six Million dogs,
  • Seven Million barrels of porter,
  • Eight Million bags of Sligo rags.

The narrator of the story is someone who sailed on the ship and the only survivor of the tragic accident, meaning no-one else could challenge their story. It sounds like one of these roaming figures telling people of their adventures, but of course with no evidence other than their own word to back up the tale. With the great but extraordinary detail regarding the ships construction, it’s fair to say that the story could be taken with a pinch of salt in regards to it’s credibility.


It’s quite a fun song. The lyrics tell a story, and depending on which version you listen to (my favourite is The Dubliners with the Pogues) the music can be quite lively and fun to both sing and dance to. 

Anyway just thought I would do a post about one of my favourite songs.

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