The Rocky Road To Dublin, The Dubliners Lyrics And Guitar Chords, Written By D K. Gavan
from Galway and first recorded in 1915 . made popular by Harry Clifton in the music hall days around London. Best version
so far by Luke Kelly and The Dubliners. Recently recorded by Celtic Thunder.
In[Em] the merry month of May from my home I started
Left the girls of Tuam[D] nearly broken-hearted
Father dear, kissed my darlin' Mother
Drank a pint of beer my[D] grief and tears to smother
Then[Em] off to reap the
corn, and leave where I was [G]born
I [Em]cut a stout black[G]thorn to[Em] banish ghost and goblin,
In a bran'new pair
of [G]brogues I[Em] rattled o'er the [G]bogs
AndEm] frightened all the[D] dogs on the rocky road to Dublin,
One, two, three, four[Em] five, hunt the hare and turn her
Down the rocky roaad, and [d]all the ways to Dublin
In Mullingar that night I rested limbs so weary,
Started by daylight next morning light and airy,
a drop of the pure, to keep my heart from sinking,
That's an frishman's cure, whene'er he's on for drinking,
the lasses smile, laughing all the while,
At my curious style, 'twould set your heart a-bubbling,
They ax'd if I was
hired, the wages I required,
Till I was almost tired of the rocky road to Dublin.
In Dublin next arrived, I thought
it such a pity,
To be so soon deprived a view of that fine city,
Then I took a stroll out among the quality,
it was stole in a neat locality;
Something crossed my mind, then I looked behind,
No bundle could I find upon me stick
Enquiring for the rogue, they said my Connaught brogue
Wasn't much in vogue on the rocky road to Dublin.
there I got away my spirits never failing,
Landed on the quay as the ship was sailing,
Captain at me roared, said that
no room had he,
When I jumped aboard, a cabin found for Paddy
Down among the pigs, I played some funny rigs
some hearty jigs, the water round me bubblin'
When off to Holyhead I wished myself was dead,
Or better far, instead,
on the rocky road to Dublin.
The bovs of Liverpool, when we safely landed,
Called myself a fool, I could no longer
Blood began to boil, temper I was losin'
Poor old Erin's isle they began abusin'
"Hurrah my soul!" sez
I, my shillelagh I let fly,
Some Galway boys were by, saw I was a hobble in,
Then with a loud Hurrah, they joined in
We quickly cleared the way, for the rocky road to Dublin.
There's a new song out for the european championship by The Dubliners with Damien Dempsey doing the singing. The title
of the song is The Rocky Road To Poland. It uses the same tune as this song just a few different words. So if your playing
the new one then use the chords given here.
Tribute To Luke By Ulick O'Connor 1984
The dead 50s were behind us then,
as we slipped
into a rollicking decade. Luke's head seemed a symbol of
the new freedom. If he'd landed in Peru they would
have taked him for an Aztek God.
He had the love of
words and the precise elocution of a true Dubliner
and when he sang he would caress the tempo of the lyric
lovengly against the musical
line in a spine tingling blend.
The first three words he would open with in a song gave hime
command of his audience.
Here's the 2 missing verses that The Dubliners never sang and forms part of the original
song. The reason songs get cut is generally because the are too long. These belong after the second and forth verses.
The steam-coach was at hand,
driver said he'd cheap ones,
But, sure, the luggage van
Was too much for my ha'pence.
For England I was bound:
would never do to baulk it:
For, every step of the road,
Be dad! says I, I'll walk it!
I did not sigh nor moan,
I saw Athlone:
A pain in my shin bone,
It set my heart a bubbling;
And fearing the big cannon,
Looking o'er the
I very quickly ran on
The rocky road to Dublin.
A coachman raised his hand,
As if myself was wanting:
I went up to a
full of cars for jaunting,.
Step up, my boy! says he,
Ah, ha! that I will with pleasure:
And to the strawberry
I'll drive you, at your leisure.
A strawberry bed! says I,
Faith! that would be too high,
On one of straw
And the berries won't be troubling.
He drove me out as far,
Upon an outside car:
Faith! such jolting
On the rocky road to Dublin!
The beginning point of any Dubliners biography is always Merrion Row (or Baggot Street, depending on who
you ask. As you might expect, the Dubliners started out in the back room of a pub. A few years earlier, Ronnie Drew had emigrated
to Spain travelling, teaching English and playing his guitar.
Upon returning to Dublin, Ronnie made friends with John Molloy, a renowned local actor, and joined him in a
number of stage ventures. One of these ideas for a stage show involved collecting traditional Irish ballads. Drew decided
that recruiting some additional musicians to form a group would be a good idea and he knew just where to find them - in the
Experienced folk singer Luke Kelly had just
returned from travelling the folk clubs of Britain and regularly visited O'Donoghue's pub, as did tenor banjo wizard Barney
McKenna and guitarist and whistle player Ciaran Bourke. Along with Ronnie's deep, gravelly tones, they formed the Ronnie Drew
Ballad Group, playing a series of concerts at the Grafton Cinema, the Abbey Tavern and the Royal Hotel.
As their fame spread around the area, Ronnie Drew voiced his dislike at being
the only named 'frontman' of the band so, at Luke Kelly's suggestion, they named themselves after James Joyce's novel The
In 1963 the band invaded the United Kingdom, packing their beards and instruments and hitting the Edinburgh
Folk Festival, getting themselves onto the Hootenanny compilation recorded at the festival in the process.
On hearing them, the head of Transatlantic Records was impressed enough to sign
them to his label, allowing them to record and release their eponymous first album and a single, The Rocky Road to Dublin.
Kelly took a sabbatical from the band at around this point, continuing his previous solo career in England.
Singer and guitarist Bob Lynch stepped in as replacement, and fiddler John Sheahan
drifted in (and never drifted out), becoming an integral part of the Dubliners sound to this day. Luke Kelly soon returned
to the fold as Bob Lynch moved on, leaving the Dubliners with their most famous line up,
The Dubliners' big success came in 1967. Popular pirate radio station Radio Caroline put their recording of traditional
comic drinking song Seven Drunken Nights on the playlists. Although, as Ronnie Drew is heard to remark on many recordings,
'There are seven verses, but we're only allowed to sing you five of them' (the last two having been banned for being a little
bit too saucy for public broadcasting), the song was a big hit, selling 40,000 copies in the first two days of release and
reaching number five in the charts.
In an era divided
between sharply-dressed crooners and psychedelic tie-dyed flower people, a rowdy bunch of scruffy Irishmen belting out a bawdy
drinking song had caught the public's attention. This set the stage for the Dubliners' career. A skilled bunch of musicians
and singers (all of whom contribute vocals at one time or another, justifying the renaming from The Ronnie Drew Group), the
Dubliners are more than capable of tackling heartfelt ballads such as A Parcel of Rogues or The Leaving of Liverpool. However,
the band are always at their best, even now as the old statesmen of folk, launching into their huge repertoire of comedic
drinking songs such as Seven Drunken Nights, A Pub With No beer and All For Me grog, or their vignettes of Ireland in the
early 20th Century such as Dr Johnson's Motor Car and The Black Velvet Band.
Between 1961 and today, the number of bands to have formed, made records and then split is almost countless, but
although musicians have left, been replaced and returned several times, the Dubliners are still around .One testament to the
love of the band for their music is their determinedness to battle on against adversity. After suffering a brain hemorrhage
in 1974, Ciaran Bourke returned to the band and played on until his death (aged 53) in 1987. Similarly, Luke Kelly returned
to tour with the band from 1982 until his death in 1984. Thankfully, there's always a pool of talented singers and instrumentalists
willing to join such a renowned band.
Today Sean Cannon,
Eamonn Campbell Patsy Watchorn and Barney McKenna complete the Dubliners line-up, still touring the world and drawing
the crowds. As anyone who has heard the fantastic 1987 single The Irish Rover with The Pogues will testify, they can still
cut it with the young upstarts..All the songs here have easy chords that can be played by a novice guitar player. As you know
Barney, Luke and Ronnie and Ciaran are no longer around but their songs live on through The Dublin Legends with Gerry O'Connor
taking Barney's place on Banjo.
The above photo. is a sleeve of The Rocky Road To Dublin that was published in New York
in 1906 with the composer credited as being Ellis R. Ephraim..