“O'Reilly's Daughter”


The narrator "shags" landlord or bartender O'Reilly's daughter, then assaults father, mother or both.


Annotator Legman (pp. 138-139) includes the text of "The Rover," which he dates to 1790, as the forerunner of the modern bawdy ballad. The "C" text in Randolph-Legman I is only coincidentally "One-Eyed Reilly." - EC

This exists in an extremely bowdlerized version [in which the singer wants to "marry" rather than "shag" the daughter, and in which the daughter is the only one to receive his attentions], which was made popular by the Clancy Bros. in the 1960s. The [Silber] entry is that song. - PJS - RBW

Logsdon observes that T. S. Eliot included a verse of this in _The Cocktail Party_.- RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "I Went Down to New Orleans"


  1. Cray, pp. 101-105, "O'Reilly's Daughter" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph-Legman I, pp. 137-140, "One-Eyed Reilly" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  3. Logsdon 53, pp. 249-252, "One-Eyed Riley" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Botkin-AmFolklr, p. 838, "(One-Eyed Riley)" (1 text, 1 tune -- a fragment of a raftsman's song, so short that it might be this or something else. The lyrics are different, but the feeling is similar)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 172, "Reilly's Daughter" (1 text)
  6. DT, REILLY1*
  7. Roud #1161
  8. BI, EM101


Alternate titles: “Reilly's Daughter”
Author: unknown
Found in: Australia Britain(England) Ireland US(Ro,So,SW) New Zealand