Gerry Foley's stormy adventure while hunting an otter bring him to the attention of a "big vessel" captain. The captain tries but fails to lure Gerry to sea and is scolded by Gerry's wife.

Long description

Gerry Foley tried kill a "water dog" [otter], but it escaped into the river. Gerry built a boat, loaded his rifle, and chased after the otter. After three weeks rowing he survived a gale, headed back to town, but ran into a rock on his way home. A captain of "a big vessel,' having heard of the adventure, came to Gerry's home and offered Gerry money, land and mansion to go with him to sea. When Gerry refused the offer the captain took offense, saying "I came here for you all the ways from Kinsale, And allow me to tell you, I'm not going to fail" Gerry's wife Joan -- "as you know she is wicked and terrible bold" -- scolded the captain


OCanainn: "A typical composition of George Curtin who picked on a minor incident that happened to his neighbor Ger Foley. The hard facts of the case were that Ger spotted an otter in the river and tried to kill it. George heard of the incident and transformed the simple event into a saga ....."

This is a ballad in the not-exclusively-Irish tradition of river and canal boat tall tales like "The Clonmel Flood" and "The Wreck of the Gwendoline." In this case we are in on the ship-building phase as well as the sinking.

The sea captain had come all the way from Kinsale, about 14 miles as the gull flies, to recruit Gerry.

The title is from the chorus: "Rally-Roh Fal-de-dah Rally Roh fal-di-dee." - BS


  1. OCanainn, pp. 54-55,122, "Rally-Roh" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, OCan054


Author: George Curtin (source: OCanainn)
Earliest date: 1978 (OCanainn)
Found in: Ireland