“The Wicklow Rangers”


A 14 year old boy from Carlow meets a colonel, who enlists him in the Wicklow Rangers. He leaves his girl. Her friends tell her not to worry. He and a comrade are shunned by two milk-maids. If he survives his enlistment he will return to his girl.


Broadside Bodleian 2806 c.7(25) is somewhat dated by having the singer enlisted by Colonel Whitty "to serve the queen unto some distant land."

OLochlainn cites an 1840 source: "Bunting, 1840, No. 57." I guess this is _The Ancient Music of Ireland_, editor Edward Bunting, (Dublin, Hodges and Smith, 1840). However, that may only be a reference for the tune since Bunting appears only to deal with Gaelic music, and that, possibly without words. Confirmation will have to wait until someone sees the book (there is a 2000 Dover unabridged edition). - BS

OLochlainn's tune is the one usually associated with "The Girl I Left Behind Me (II - lyric)."

Carlow town is in County Carlow, Ireland. County Wicklow is adjacent.

The text in every copy I have seen is sung in part from the boy's point of view ["... Colonel Reilly listed me ..."] and, in part, from the girl's point of view ["So now my love is gone from me I own I do not blame him ..."].

Broadside LOCSinging as104470 appears to be the same as Bodleian 2806 c.7(25) printed by P. Brereton (Dublin).

The description is based on broadside Bodleian Harding B 17(336a). - BS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 17(336a), "The Wicklow Rangers" or "The Girl I Left Behind Me" ("Come all you handsome comely maids"), H. Disley (London), 1860-1883; also Harding B 11(795), "The Wicklow Rangers" or "The Girl I Left Behind Me"; 2806 c.7(25), "The Girl I Left Behind Me"; Harding B 26(217), "The New Girl I Left Behind Me"
  • LOCSinging, as104470, "The Girl I Left Behind Me," unknown, 19C


  1. OLochlainn 18, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #689
  3. BI, OLoc018


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1840? (Bunting); before 1884 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 17(336a))
Found in: Ireland