“The Irish Wake”


Pat Malone, being "pressed for ready cash," decides to fake death to collect his life insurance. All goes well until the wake and funeral; he thinks they cost too much. At last, shortly before he is buried, realizing the consequences, he gives up the sham


Laws lists this among the ballads of British origin, but cites no references. Cohen speculates that it is actually an American stage song. Given that it's been collected only on this side of the water (as best I can tell, and the Roud list supports this), I strongly suspect he's right. - RBW

Cross references


  • Lawrence Older, "Pat Malone" (on LOlder01)
  • Dan W. Quinn, "Pat Malone Forgot That He Was Dead" (CYL: Columbia Concert 5048, n.d.)


  1. Laws Q18, "The Irish Wake"
  2. Randolph 473, "The Irish Wake" (1 text plus an excerpt, 1 tune)
  3. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 366-368, "The Irish Wake" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 473A)
  4. FSCatskills 121, "Pat Malone" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Darling-NAS, pp. 148-149, "Pat Malone" (1 text)
  6. DT 529, PATFORGT*
  7. Roud #1008
  8. BI, LQ18


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1893
Keywords: death funeral trick
Found in: US(MA,So)