“What Irish Boys Can Do”


"They insult an Irishman ... it happens every day." But the Irish are noble and hospitable. Think of Irish warriors, like Wellington and the 69th at Bull Run, and poets Lover and Moore. Think of Irish songs and plays. "Then, why slur upon the Irish?"


Broadside Bodleian Harding B 31(102): The subtitle is "Answer to No Irish Need Apply." Printer H. De Marsan is at 54 Chatham Street

The reference to the Civil War dates and places this song:

"And then, too, in the present war between the North and South,

Let no dirty slur on Irish ever escape your mouth;

Sure, did you ne'er hear tell of the 69th, who bravely fought at Bull-Run!

And Meagher, of the seven days fight, that was in front, of Richmond,

With General Shields, who fought so brave for the Flag Red. White, and Blue?

And anything like a bayonet-charge the Irish boys can do."

For more on the Irish in the American Civil War see the Index notes to "By the Hush." [Also "The Irish Sixty-Ninth." - RBW]

For the general issue see "No Irish Need Apply."

Broadsides LOCSinging sb40474a and Bodleian Harding B 31(102): 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 31(102), "What Irish Boys Can Do", H. De Marsan (New York), 1861-1864
  • LOCSinging, sb40474a, "What Irish Boys Can Do", H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878


  1. O'Conor, p. 23, "What Irish Boys Can Do" (1 text)
  2. BI, OCon023


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1865 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 31(102))