Listen to Rocky Road To Dublin, especially performed for Ireland's Favourite Folk Song by Lankum, above, and read all about the song below.
This rousing ballad tells the tale of a young man who leaves his Tuam home and makes his way on foot to Dublin where he jumps on board a ship bound for Liverpool and ends up dancing jigs ‘down among the pigs’. He has many adventures along the way, stopping for the occasional drink and eventually arrives in Dublin where his ‘bundle it was stole’. His Connaught brogue makes him an outsider in Dublin and likewise in Liverpool where he is ridiculed for being Irish. He ends up in a fray but fellow Galway boys come to his assistance.
Much of the song’s appeal and charm is down to the protagonist’s confident and spirited disposition. He fancies himself with the girls, he believes they were ‘sad and broken hearted’ when he left Tuam. He never gets disheartened even when robbed. He bears no insults even when outnumbered. The lyrics were composed by D K Gavan for the English music hall singer Harry Clifton, who popularised it in the mid 19th century.