The Gals o’ Dublin Town

Capstan Shanty


Now ’twas of a famous Yankee ship, to New York we was bound,
And our captain being an Irishman belonging to Dublin town
And when he gazes on the land, that town of high renown,
Oh, it’s break away the green burgee and the harp without the crown

Hurrah! Hurrah! For the gals of Dublin town,
Hurrah for the bonny green flag, and the harp without the crown!

‘Twas on the seventeenth of March we arrived in New York Bay,
Our Captain being an Irishman, must celebrate the day.
With the stars and stripes way high aloft and fluttering all around,
But underneath his monkey-gaff flew the harp without the crown (Chorus)

Now we’re bound for ‘Frisco, boys, and things are running wild,
The officers and men dead drunk, around the decks they pile.
But by tomorrow morning, boys, we’ll work without a frown,
For aboard the saucy “Shenandoah” flies the harp without the crown! (Chorus)

Sometimes we’re bound for Liverpool, sometimes we’re bound for France,
But now we’re bound for Dublin town to give the gals a chance.
Sometimes we’re bound for furrin’ parts, sometimes we’re bound for home,
A Johnny’s always at his best wherever he may roam. (Chorus)

Sometimes the weather’s fine an’ fair, sometimes it’s darn well foul,
Sometimes it blows a Cape Horn gale that freezes up yer soul.
Sometimes we work as hard as hell, sometimes our grub it stinks,
Enough to make a sojer curse, or make a bishop blink. (Chorus)

Sometimes we wisht we’d never joined, sometimes we’d like ta be
A’drinkin’ in a pub, me boys, a gal sat on each knee.
Sometimes we are a happy crowd, sometimes we’ll sing a song,
Sometimes we wish we’d never been born, but we do not grouse for long. (Chorus)

An− when the voyage is all done, an’ we go away on shore,
We’ll spend our money on the gals, an’ go to sea for more! (Chorus x2)

Song Notes

This song was recorded by the Storm Weather Shanty Choir, Gaelic Storm, De Flinthörners, among others.  The Bark Ragna Crew sings this to the tune of Rising of the Moon.

Stan Hugill cites that this song was also sometimes called The Harp without a Crown, or The Shenandoah.  

Bounding Main had been looking for Irish-themed songs for future St. Patrick’s Day performance opportunities.  We previously had an Irish-themed piece in our repertoire, but when the writer of that song left the group we agreed to not perform it any more.  Gals of Dublin Town was in the song booklet used by David HB Drake’s First Monday Sea Shanty Sing-Outs and it seemed like an ideal candidate.  Then, while performing at the County of Brown Renaissance Faire, we discovered that a pirate-themed musical group was already performing this song.  Not wanting to seem like copy-cats we dropped this song, too.  The search goes on.