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Welcome to Pub Songs & Stories, the virtual Public House for Celtic culture and change through music.

I am Marc Gunn. I play Sci F'Irish music. I want to take you on an adventure. I'll share the stories behind my songs as we explore pop culture media through the lens of Irish & Celtic music. You will have fun and sing along, and maybe get a far too real glimpse of yourself.



Jul 25, 2005

If you enjoy American folk music you might be familiar with this tune. The American version is called "The Girl I Left Behind", but this is the Irish version of the song. It's called "Waxies Dargle". What does that mean?

"Waxies" were candlemakers.

"Dargle" referred to an annual trip that the Waxies made to the seaside town of Bray in county Wicklow, Ireland just 12 miles from Dublin.

The melody is believed to be from the time of Queen Elizabeth the first in the late 1500s. The tune was known in America as early as 1650 where it was believed to be from England. In Ireland it was first published in 1791 as "The Rambling Laborer and the Spailpin Fanach".

I first heard it on a cassette called Irish Drinking Songs from Columbia River by an anonymous band.  I recorded "Waxies Dargle" on my CD Happy Songs of Death in 2009.

Waxie's Dargle Lyrics:

Says my aul' wan to your aul' wan
"Will ye go to the Waxies dargle?"
Says your aul' wan to my aul' wan,
"Sure I haven't got a farthing.
I've just been down to Monto town
To see Uncle McArdle
But he didn't have half a crown
For to go to the Waxies dargle."

What will ye have, will ye have a pint?
Yes, I'll have a pint with you, sir,
And if one of ye doesn't order soon
We'll be thrown out of the boozer.

Says my aul' wan to your aul' wan
"Will ye go to the Galway races?"
Says your aul' wan to my aul' wan,
"With the price of my aul' man's braces.
I went down to Capel Street
To the Jew man moneylenders
But he wouldn't give me a couple of bob on
My aul' lad's red suspenders."


Says my aul' wan to your aul' wan
"We got no beef or mutton
But if we go down to Monto town
We might get a drink for nuttin'"
Here's a nice piece of advice
I got from an aul' fishmonger:
"When food is scarce and you see the hearse
You'll know you have died of hunger.