“Nothing's Too Good for the Irish”


The singer recalls his grandmother's last words. She describes, with the full force of prejudice, the roles reserved for each people (e.g. "Negroes to whitewash, Jews for cash"), then turns to her own people, concluding, "Nothing's too good for the Irish"

Supplemental text

Nothing's Too Good for the Irish
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Anne Warner, Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne &
Frank Warner Collection, #29, pp, 101-103. From the singing of
"Yankee" John Galusha of New York State. Collected 1940.

I'll tell to you a story that was told to me
A good old story, Gramachree.
When my mother she was dying, "My lad," says she,
"Nothin's too good for the Irish!"
When we come over, me and my brother Dan,
Says I, "We will do the best we can."
They made me a copper, and him an alderman
Nothin's too good for the Irish.

Dutchmen were made for to carry coal and shovel snow,
Italians for organs, the Englishmen to mash,
Chinese for washing, the Japs for a juggling show,
Negroes to whitewash, the Jews were made for cash,
Cubans for cigarettes, the Portugese sail the seas,
Scotchmen for bakers, the French were made for style,
Rooshians for mining, Americans for liberty,
But men made for bosses are sons of Erin's isle!
Hip hip hurrah! Erin go bragh!
Nothin's too good for the Irish.

(1 additional stanza)


Presumably the same as the 1894 song by J. J. Goodwin and Rosenfeld, but I can't prove it

The chorus, in John Galusha's version at least (and also in Dean), may be the most concentrated dose of racism I've ever seen:It stereotypes *everyone*. - RBW


  1. Dean, p. 102, "Nothing Too Good for the Irish" (1 text)
  2. Warner 29, "Nothing's Too Good for the Irish" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. ST Wa029 (Partial)
  4. Roud #7468
  5. BI, Wa029


Author: J. J. Goodwin/[Monroe H.] Rosenfeld (source: Spaeth, _A History of Popular Music in America_, p. 608)
Earliest date: 1922 (Dean); Spaeth lists it as published in 1894
Found in: US(MA,MW)