“The Gals O' Dublin Town”

Alternate titles: “The Harp without the Crown”; “Heave Her and Bust Her”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1938 (Colcord)
Keywords: shanty sailor ship
Found in: US

Description

Capstan shanty (also listed as a forebitter) Chorus: "Hurrah, hurrah, for the gals o' Dublintown. Hurrah for the bonnie green flag and the harp without the crown."

Supplemental text

Gals O' Dublin Town, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Shenandoah

From Joanna C. Colcord, Songs of American Sailormen (1938 edition),
p. 175. Apparently sung by Johnny Clark.

It s of a famous American ship, for New York we are bound;
Our captain being an Irishman belonging to Dublin town,
And when he gaze on that land and that city of high renown,
It s break away that green burgee and the Harp without a Crown.

(2 additional stanzas)

Long description

Capstan shanty (also listed as a forebitter) Chorus: "Hurrah, hurrah, for the gals o' Dublintown. Hurrah for the bonnie green flag and the harp without the crown." There are two versions of this, one describes the ship, flags and captain; the other is more along general sailing themes, i.e. weather and complaints.

Notes

The "Shenandoah" was an American clipper which sailed out of New York under the command of Captain Jim Murphy. The references to the "harp without the crown" refer to Murphy's custom of flying the Irish flag under the American one. - SL

This seems likely enough (though Ireland of course did not have an official flag at this time; the golden harp on a green field went back to Hugh O'Neill, but the orange, green, and white tricolor was also in use by the middle of the nineteenth century). But I sort of suspect that the song may be a modification of a piece about the C.S.S. raider _Shenandoah_. This is because both texts and tune look as if they were influenced by "The Bonnie Blue Flag." - RBW

References

  1. Colcord, p. 175, "The Shenandoah" (1 text)
  2. Hugill, pp. 140-142, "The Gals o' Dublin Town" (2 texts & a fragment, 2 tunes) [AbEd, pp. 112-113]
  3. ST Hugi140 (Partial)
  4. Roud #323
  5. BI, Hugi140