Paddy on the Railway

#music #irishmusic

A crisp, easy-to sing tune about an Irishman who comes to the US to work on the railroads. So many Irish worked on the railway that, in the Eastern States in the 19th century, there was a popular saying: “an Irishman was buried under every tie.”  This song is actually very long, with at least one original verse for each year between 1841 and 1848, and many in between. In a vastly abridged form, I present “Paddy on the Railway”. You can hear a version of it by The Wolfe Tones here.

PADDY ON THE RAILWAY

Chorus:
Fil-i-me-oo-ree-eye-ri-ay
Fil-i-me-oo-ree-eye-ri-ay
Fil-i-me-oo-ree-eye-ri-ay
To work upon the railway


In eighteen hundred and forty-one,
Me cord’roy breeches I put on.
Me cord’roy breeches I put on,
To work upon the railway.

(chorus)

In eighteen hundred and forty-two,
I left the Old World for the new.
Bad cess to the luck that brought me through
To work upon the railway.

(chorus)

When we left Ireland to come here,
And spend our latter days in cheer.
Our bosses, they did drink strong beer,
And Pat worked on the railway.

(chorus)

It’s “Pat do this” and “Pat do that”,
Without a stocking or cravat,
And nothing but an old straw hat,
While Pat works on the railway.

(chorus)

Our boss’s name, it was Tom King,
He kept a store to rob the men,
A Yankee clerk with ink and pen,
To cheat Pat on the railway.

(chorus)

One Monday morning to our surprise,
Just a half an hour before sunrise,
The dirty divil went to the skies,
And Pat worked on the railway.

(chorus)

And when Pat lays him down to sleep,
The wirey bugs around him creep,
And divil a bit can poor Pat sleep,
While he works on the railway.

(chorus)

In eighteen hundred and forty-three,
‘Twas then I met Miss Biddy MacGhee,
And an elegant wife she’s been to me,
While workin’ on the railway.

(chorus)

In eighteen hundred and forty seven,
Sweet Biddy MacGhee, she went to heaven,
If she left one child, she left seven,
To work upon the railway.

(chorus)

In eighteen hundred and forty eight,
I learned to take my whiskey straight;
‘Tis an elegant wife that can’t be bate,
For working on the railway.

(chorus)

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