“The Wild Irish Boy”


The singer reports on his arrival in the new world. Despite his poor clothes, history of gambling, and criminal record, the girls like him for his looks. But now he is punished for his crime with poverty, prison, and loneliness

Supplemental text

Wild Irish Boy, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Norman Cazden, Herbert Haufrecht, Norman Studer, Folk Songs
of the Catskills, #112(A), pp. 421-422. From the singing of George

When I first came to this country, I had brogues on my feet,
I'd on corduroy britches, although they looked neat;
The girls would laugh at me, which gave me great joy;
They called me their hero, their wild Irish boy.

(4 additional stanzas)


The handful of traditional collections of this song have, at first glance, little resemblance to most of the broadsides. But Cazden et al managed to assemble enough versions that they are convinced of the identity of the pieces, and I think they're right.

Broadside Bodleian Harding B 18(490): H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 18(490), "Wild Irish Boy", H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878


  • Warde Ford, "The Wild Irish boy" [fragment] (AFS A 4210 B1, 1939; in AMMEM/Cowell)


  1. FSCatskills 112, "The Wild Irish Boy" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. O'Conor, p. 26, "The Wild Irish Boy" (1 text)
  3. ST FSC112 (Partial)
  4. BI, FSC112


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1875 (Barney & Rickey's Songster)
Found in: US(MA,MW)