Instrumental theme of the song played by violin.
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"Rocky Road to Dublin" is a fast-paced 19th century song with Irish lyrics about a man's experiences as he travels to Dublin, Ireland from his home in Tuam. The tune has a typical Irish rhythm, classified as a Treble Jig and is often performed instrumentally.
The words were written by D.K. Gavan, "The Galway Poet", for the English music hall performer Harry Clifton (1824-1872), who popularised the song.
The song refers to the Irish capital city Dublin, the Irish towns Tuam and Mullingar, the Welsh town Holyhead, the Irish city Galway and the English city Liverpool.
The song is partially recited several times by Mr. Deasy in James Joyce's Ulysses.
There are many variations in the lyrics depending on the singer. For instance "June" in the first line is often replaced by "May", etc. Most interpretations of the twentieth century omit the second and antepenultimate couplets, and replace the chorus by the following :
- One two three four five,
- Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road
- And all the way to Dublin, whack-fol-la-de-da !
- Bert Jansch
- Blaggards, in 2005.
- Brobdingnagian Bards, in 2002.
- Christy Moore, in 2000.
- The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, in 1964.
- Clandestine, in 1996.
- Cruachan, in 2002.
- Damien Dempsey, in 2008.
- Dropkick Murphys, in 2001 and 2002.
- Fiddler's Green, in 1992.
- Orthodox Celts, on Green Roses (1999).
- The Dubliners, in 1964.
- Luke Kelly, in 1973
- Gaelic Storm, in 1998.
- The Pogues, as part of a medley on If I Should Fall from Grace with God and on its own on Just Look Them Straight in the Eye and Say....POGUE MAHONE!!
- Paddy Reilly, in 1985.
- The Rolling Stones with The Chieftains, in 1995.
- Ryan's Fancy, in 1973.
- The Young Dubliners, on the 1994 album Rocky Road and With All Due Respect - The Irish Sessions, in 2007
- The High Kings, in 2008.
- The Tossers, in 2008.
- The Permanent Cure, in 1996
- The Irish Descendants
- Belfast Food, on album Zašto zato in 2000
- Culann's Hounds, on One for the Road in 2008
- Sherlock Holmes (Remastered Recording by The Dubliners) in 2009.
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