“The Zoological Gardens”


"Oh, thunder and lightning it's no lark When Dublin city is in the dark. If you've any money go up to the Park and view the Zoological gardens." The singer describes the odd behavior of the animals, often with a sexual subtext


According to _Soodlum's Irish Ballad Book_, the Dublin Zoological Gardens are in Phoenix Park, and the song dates back to the nineteenth century. I rather doubt this; the reference in the first verse to Dublin being in the dark, which occurs in both the Soodlum's and Harte texts, sounds like it refers to a World War I blackout.

Is the song traditional? I know of no field collections -- but the Soodlum's and Harte texts differ significantly, and Harte says there are other variants he didn't record. So it probably does have some traditional life, though perhaps only on college campuses or such. - RBW


  1. ADDITIONAL: Frank Harte _Songs of Dublin_, second edition, Ossian, 1993, pp. 66-67, "Zoological Gardens" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Hart066


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1982 (_Soodlum's Irish Ballad Book_)