The Rambling Irishman

WORDS: Traditional
MUSIC: Trad. Arr. Tim Dennehy
WHISTLE: Tommy Keane
BODHRÁN: Maurice Griffin
MANDOCELLO: Garry O'Briain

This song first appeared in broadsheet form in the late eighteenth century and was popularised on a 78 recording in 1930 where it was performed by John McGettigan's Three Leaf Shamrock Orchestra on the Victor record label. It epitomises the joy and life that can be found in Irish-American music and song from that period. I learned it from the singing of the late Paddy Breen from Kilmihil, Co. Clare, who was also a great tin whistle and concert flute player.

I am a rambling Irishman, I've travelled the country o'er
In search of an occupation like I've never done before.
I formed a resolution and I thought it a very good plan
For to take a trip to America and view that happy land.

When I landed in Philadelphia the girls all jumped for joy.
Says one unto the other there goes an Irish boy.
They wanted me to dine with them and took me by the hand
And the toast went merrily round the room,
'Here's long life to an Irishman.'

They took me to a big hotel it was there we spent the night.
The landlady's fair daughter in me took great delight.
She never took her eyes off me while on the floor I stand
And she shouts out to her mother, 'I'm in love with an Irishman'.

'Yerra daughter dearest daughter what is this you are going to do
To fall in love with an Irishman a lad you never knew
With his knapsack on his shoulder, a shillelagh in his hand.'
'Yerra mother dear I'd roam the world with that rambling Irishman.'

And now that we are married and we're settled down in life.
We're as happy as two turtle doves myself and my dear wife.
I'll work for her I'll toil for her and I'll do the best I can
And she'll never say she'll rue the day