T And J Enterprises' Lyrics Database

Browse By Artist
Browse By Song Title
Search Artist and Title For:

Search Song Fulltext For:



Garryowen
Traditional Irish Songs


[Garryowen is known to have been used by Irish regiments as a drinking song. The name is
derived from Gaelic meaning Owen's garden, and is nowadays part of Limerick city.
That was where the 5th Royal Irish Lancers made their home, and soon the song became
associated with the Lancers' drinking. The Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote the words around
1807. The tune is first documented as Auld Bessy in 1788.
General George Armstrong Custer reportedly heard the song among his Irish troops and liked
it. Lieutenant Colonel (Captain) Myles W. Keogh and several other officers with ties to the
Fifth Royal Irish Lancers and the Papal Guard, two Irish regiments in the British Army,
were believed to be instrumental in bringing the air to the regiment. The tune was then
played so often the 7th Cavalry became tied to it. In 1867 it was adopted as the official
marching song of the Seventh Cavalry. It was the last song played for Custer's men as they
left general Alfred Terry's column at the Powder River and rode into history by being
defeated by the warriors of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho nations on the morning of
25th June 1876 at the Battle of Little Bighorn]

Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed
But join with me each jovial blade
Come booze and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus

Chorus:
Instead of spa we'll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail
For debt no man shall go to gaol (jail)
From Garryowen in glory

We are the boys that take delight in
Smashing the Limerick lamps when lighting
Through the street like sportsters fighting
And tearing all before us

We'll break the windows, we'll break the doors
The watch knock down by threes and fours
Then let the doctors work their cures
And tinker up our bruised

We'll beat the bailiffs out of fun
We'll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin

Our hearts so stout have got us fame
For soon 'tis known from whence we came
Where'er we go they dread the name
Of Garryowen in glory

Johnny Connell's tall and straight
And in his limbs he is complete
He'll pitch a bar of any weight
From Garryowen to Thomondgate

Garryowen is gone to rack
Since Johnny Connell went to Cork
Though Darby O'Brien leapt over the dock
In spite of judge and jury


T And J Enterprises Main Page