“The Peeler and the Goat”

Author: Jeremiah O'Ryan ("Darby Ryan") (Source: Zimmermann)
Earliest date: 1939 (OLochlainn); c.1830 (Zimmermann)
Keywords: prison drink humorous political animal police
Found in: Ireland


The Peelers meet a goat and plan to jail him for being on the road. The goat says that he is honorable if houseless and that the road is his home. He expects to be acquitted. He says the peelers are drunk and could be bought for more poteen.


Sir Robert Peel established the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1812 and its success led, in 1829, to the Metropolitan Police Act for London. Originally the term "Peeler" applied to the London constabulary. (source: _Sir Robert "Bobby" Peel (1788-1850)_ at Historic UK site.)

In this song the term is applied to the Bansha police in Bansha, County Tipperary.

Martin Reidy's tune on IRClare01 is the one used for "The Recruiting Sergeant" (on Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor, "Two Heids are Better than Yin!," Monitor MF 365 (1962)) - BS

Cross references




  1. OLochlainn 74, "The Peeler and the Goat" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Zimmermann 45, "The Peeler and the Goat" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #1458
  5. BI, OLOc074