“Darby O'Leary”


The singer is hired by Darby O'Leary to work at his Galbally mountains farm. The supper is sour milk, the barn "covered with rats," terrible sleeping conditions: "such woeful starvation I never yet seen ... May he or his offspring never live long"

Supplemental text

Darby O'Leary
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

As recorded by Kendall Morse on "Lights Along the Shore,"
Folk-Legacy FSI-57, copyright 1976. A revival version, but
it's one of the rare full texts.

One evening of late as I happened to stray,
To the County Tipperary I straight took me way
To pick the potatoes and work by the day
For a farmer called Darby O'Leary.
  I asked him how far we were bound for to go,
  The night being dark and a cold wind did blow.
  I was hungry and tired and me spirits were low,
  For I got me no whiskey nor water.

(4 additional stanzas)


Creighton-SNewBrunswick is a fragment; broadside Bodleian Harding B 26(619) is the basis for the description. - BS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 26(619), "The Spalpeen's Complaint of Darby O'Leary ("One evening of late as I happened to stray"), unknown, n.d.


  • Tom Lenihan, "The Cranbally Farmer" (on Voice05)


  1. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 110, "The Silly Old Miser" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  2. OLochlainn-More 57, "The Galbally Farmer" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. ST CrSNB110 (Partial)
  4. Roud #6978
  5. BI, CrSNB110


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1960 (Creighton-SNewBrunswick)
Keywords: farming work ordeal
Found in: Canada(Mar) Ireland