Finnegan's Wake lyrics

by The Irish Rovers

Tim Finnegan lived in Walken' Street
A gentleman Irishman mighty odd;
He seen a brogue so soft and sweet
And to rise in the world he carried the hod.

Tim had a sort of a tipplin' way
With a love of the liquor now he was born
To help him on with his work each day
Had a "drop of the craythur" every morn.

Whack fol the dah O, dance to your partner
Welt the floor, your trotters shake;
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake!

One mornin' Tim felt rather full
His head felt heavy which made him shake;
Fell from a ladder and he burst his skull
So they carried him home his corpse to wake.

Rolled him up in a nice clean sheet
Laid him out upon the bed;
A gallon of whiskey at his feet
A barrel of porter at his head.

Whack fol the dah O, dance to your partner
Welt the floor, your trotters shake;
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake!

His friends assembled at the wake
And Mrs. Finnegan called for lunch.
First they brung in tea and cake;
Then pipes, tobacco and whiskey punch.

Biddy O'Brien began to cry,
"Such a nice clean corpse, did you ever see?
Tim mavourneen, why did you die?"
Arragh, shut your gob said Paddy McGhee!

Whack fol the da O, dance to your partner
Welt the floor, your trotters shake;
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake!

Patty O'Connor took up the job
"Ah Biddy," says she, "You're wrong, I'm sure"
Biddy gave her a belt in the gob
Then left her sprawlin' on the floor.

Then the war did soon enrage
Woman to woman and man to man,
Shillelagh-law was all the rage
And a row and a ruction soon began.

Mickey Maloney lowered his head
And a bottle of whiskey flew at him,
Missed, and fallin' on the bed
The liquor scattered over Tim!

Tim revives! See how he rises!
Timothy risin' from the bed,
Sayin', "Whirl your liquor around like blazes
Thunderin' Jaysus! Do you think I'm dead?"

Whack fol the dah O, dance to your partner
Welt the floor, your trotters shake;
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake!

Song Details

Composer & Lyricist: Traditional - became popular in the 1850's in the music-hall tradition of comical Irish songs.

Brief: Tim Finnegan was a hod carrier who loved a drink or two before and after work. One day while working, he fell from his ladder and cracked his skull and everyone assumed he was dead. At his wake, a lot of drinking and merriment ensued with the crowd becoming quite rowdy - a brawl started with whiskey landing on the corpse... Finnegan became conscious and joined in the celebrations!

References:
whiskey - derived from the Irish phrase uisce beatha meaning 'water of life'.
brogue - accent
hod - a tool for carrying bricks - also a slang term for a drinking vessel
tipplin' way - a tippler is a drunk
craythur - whiskey
Whack fol the dah - Form of Irish lilting used in a number of Irish Folk Songs
porter - beer
welt - to beat soundly
trotters - feet
mavourneen - my darling
shillelagh-law - brawl
ruction - a fight

In 1939 James Joyce wrote his final novel called Finnegans Wake in which the song provided the basis of his novel, symbolizing the universal cycle of life.

Category: Irish Folk Song / Ballad

Other Recording Artists: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, Dropkick Murphy's, The Dubliners, Brobdingnagian Bards, The High Kings, The Tossers, Orthodox Celts, Darby O'Gill, Ryan's Fancy, Christy Moore, Roger McGuinn, Dominic Behan, Poxy Boggards, Seamus Kennedy...

Logo Finnegan's Wake by The Irish Rovers from the album The Irish Rovers 50 Years - Vol. 1 (March 1, 2014).

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