Funny Irish Pub Songs

April 27, 2015

No Title by Marc Gunn on

A collection of comic and satirical lyrics that comment on some of the inconsistencies and absurdities that mark Irish society’s transition from the past to the future. The style is long-established and reaches back to the Gaelic bard’s role in early-millennium social structures on this island. Each tale carries a moral, but humour is the vehicle that dispenses it with an ease that renders it both visible and invisible: the observer has the space to 23 their own choices.

This kind of song/verse is long-established in Ireland. Satiric song is a mildly-admonishing device of Irish literature, comic observation and ridicule are part of everyday conversation. These songs comment on perfectly obvious everyday things, they say things that are as rigorously accurate as the news bulletins and newspapers that they were culled from.. The twist is in the approach, the addition of the fantastic and the surreal. Drama is invoked to drive home the message. But just as important as the songs is the accompanying text. The introductory essays stand on their own as a complementary area of observation and render their associated lyrics all the richer, making this book not just a mere songbook, but a solid comic test that is in a continuum with Breandán O hEithir’s Begrudger’s Guide to Irish Politics, Myles na Gopaleen. Sex, National politics, Drink, Fast Food, Traditional music, Religion, Recreation, Agriculture, the Weather – all are analysed herein through he medium of the direct slag, the obtuse dig, the dry remark.

Sing Up! Song Contents

THE ARAB ORANGE LODGE – Crawford Howard’s fantasy concerning the consequences of exporting the L.O.L. to Damascus.

THE BALDY SONG – On the plight and restorative antics of men who can’t handle baldness.

BANG BANG’S DAY – Blow by blow saga of the exciting scenes surrounding Evelyn Glenholmes’s release from court in the late 80s Dublin.

BEAUTY SPOT GLANLEA – Patsy Cronin’s imaginary journey around the world, based on reading newspapers and atlases.

THE BALLAD OF BINDER TWINE – Micheál Marrinan’s verbal extrusions on what to do with the EC Twine mountain.

THE BALLAD OF RANGY RIBS – Dungiven bard Brian McGuinness’s exhaustive dissertation on the colourful life of an unkempt, unbiddable, unwanted bullock.

THE BALLAD OF THE TEETH – Tale of how he lost them to the desires of a jackdaw, and then got them back

THE BODHRÁN SONG – Tim Lyon’s tale of the fate of a German tourist who went trying to make his own bodhrán.

THE BUFFALO FARM IN ACHILTIEBUIE – Andy Mitchell’s nightmare about Scottish Highlands development after overhearing a pub discussion on EC grant-aid for bison farming.

CHARLES THE NAVIGATOR – Charlie Haughey’s conquest of the Mizzen head by yacht.

THE CITY OF MULLINGAR – A 19th century hedgeschool master style eulogy on that most gorgeous of Irish cities.

CONFESSIONS OF A BODHRÁN PLAYER – Observations on the contradictions and absurdities with which the vegetarian bodhrán player must grapple.

THE DAFFODIL MAN FROM KILTYBANE – Jim McAllister’s effusions on an innocent who happened to suggest something so effete as flowers to a Crossmaglen publican.

THE DENTIST FROM FIVEMILETOWN – Hugh Collin’s tale of oral torture in the rare ould times.

THE DONERAILE LITANY – Patrick O’Kelly’s curse on the miserable hoors of Doneraile who robbed the watch he had got from a British monarch.

DRUMSNOT, BEAUTY SPOT*** – Briain O’Rourke’s satire on the beauty spot industry.

DUNNE(S) STOR(I)ES BEATS THEM ALL – On Ben Dunne being caught with no pants, off his head and on cocaine in Miami.

THE E(?)C SONG – Tim Lyons’ denunciation of the evils of the EC and its effect on the drinking public.

THE ERRANT APPRENTICE – Bill Watkins’ internal-rhyme tale of how a soldier lad had his eye wiped by the publican’s daughter.

THE FAST-FOOD SONG – Tim Lyons’ excoriation of fast food burgers and trashy eating.

THE FENIAN RECORD PLAYER – Crawford Howard’s updating of The Ould Orange Flute into the age of electro-mechanical technology.

THE FOODAHOLIC – Crawford Howard at it again, on compulsive eating and its result.

THE FREE STATE ADJUDICATOR – Joe Mulhearn’s satire on public humiliation dealt out to the Ulster song tradition by a Fleadh apparatchik.

THE GUBU SONG – Mickey McConnell’s brilliant parody on politicians’ gobbledygook.

THE GENESIS SONG – How sex was invented, and the background to clerical celibacy.

THE GLASGOW COURTSHIP – Adam MacNaughton’s parody on the grand hedge-schoolmaster song evocations of the early 19th century.

THE GOAT’S REPLY – Fred McCormick’s words in the mouth of the sibling of Brian O’Rourke’s goat: this one has no notion of being humiliated.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU, MR. GORSKY! – Weird sex intrigue behind the scenes of the first flight to the Moon.

THE GRISLY MURDER OF JOE FRAWLEY – Tim Lyon’s tale of drink, love, revenge, grisly murder and prison in a fantasy gombeen land.

HEY RONNIE REAGAN! – John Maguire brilliantly becomes all of Ireland’s marginalia and tells the big man to get stuffed.

HO CHARLIUM – The course of the 1990 Presidential election seen as a horse race at the Phoenix Park.

INVITATION TO A FUNERAL – The Finnegan’s wake theme – the corpse doesn’t turn up, but the crack is good, and rows and fights reduce the party to patheticism.

THE IRISH JUBILEE – A post-famine food-hallucination of over-eating set in Irish America.

The JOHNNIES SONG – How the Gardai set about shutting down the dreaded Well Woman She-been.

LEITRIM IS A VERY FUNNY PLACE – How the natives of Ballinamore dared to refuse to talk to RTÉ in the heat of crisis.

LITANY OF A BIG EGO – And how RTÉ broadcasters used feel obliged to be important and exclusive in the days when their employer was important because it was exclusive.

THE MAN FROM DEL MONTE – Scorching cynicism from the sadistic quill of master-bard Deaglán Talúin.

THE MICE AT IT AGAIN – Sean Corcoran’s collected woes about the proliferation of mice in the days before Dak and poison.

MICK SULLIVAN’S CLOCK – The Clock packs it in, goes on tour and is beaten to death.

THE MILTOWN COCKROACH – Con Fada Ó Drisceoil’s fate at the fangs and venoms of beasts of the night in a tent.

THE MISSING MISSUS MYSTERY – How Mrs. Runcie never appeared on the TV when the Bishop went to Rome for the early stages of an Anglo-Roman cease-fire agreement.

THE MOVING STATUES MOVEMENT – The only economic growth of the 1980s – when even the statues got sick of the rain.

THE NAMES OF TUNES SONG – Michael Scanlon parades a significant repertoire as seamless medley to the tune of The Swallow’s Tail.

NELL FLAHERTY’S DRAKE – Spectacular curses over the theft of a prized bird.

THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED OWENY’S – Finbar Boyle’s satire on the Gardaí for daring to close down a famed topers’ emporium in Dundalk.

THE NIGHT-CLUBBING SONG – Mícheál Marrinan’s jaunt to the big smoke to taste a bit of the high-life and late-drinking fashionable in 80s Dublin.

ON THOSE WHO STOLE OUR CAT, A CURSE – wished venomously by Michael Hartnett in the spirit of Doneraile, Carey and Nell Flaherty.

OOR HAMLET – Adam McNaughtan tells the story as it has never been told, set to music.

THE ORDNANCE SURVEY MAN – Deaglán Talúin’s Herculean assessment of the mundane life of a mere civil servant who is fond of a bit of music.

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whose line is it anyway - funny irish drinking song

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