The Irish Rover è una canzone popolare nella cultura della musica tradizionale irlandese e forse la più conosciuta anche all’estero. La sua melodia è così apprezzata che è stata registrata da numerosi artisti, alcuni dei quali hanno apportato delle modifiche ai testi. Risalente al 1966, il brano è attribuito al compositore e arrangiatore JM Crofts.
Il testo racconta di una nave gigantesca con diversi alberi madre, vele colorate e vari tipi di carichi a bordo. Si salpa dalla baia di Cork, in direzione della città di New York, negli Usa. Ad un certo punto però, il viaggio diventa disastroso, tanto che i marinai perdono di vista la rotta per via della nebbia.
Così, ad un certo punto l’imbarcazione finisce contro una roccia. La nave affonda con la maggior parte dell’equipaggio, mentre il cantante si salva: è l’unico sopravvissuto e lo rivela nell’ultima riga del brano.
Il brano intonato dai Pogues in compagnia dei The Dubliners.
Il testo di The Irish Rover
On the fourth of July eighteen hundred and six
We set sail from the sweet cove of Cork
We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks
For the grand city hall in New York
‘Twas a wonderful craft, she was rigged fore-and-aft
And oh, how the wild winds drove her.
She’d got several blasts, she’d twenty-seven masts
And we called her the Irish Rover.
We had one million bales of the best Sligo rags
We had two million barrels of stones
We had three million sides of old blind horses hides,
We had four million barrels of bones.
We had five million hogs, we had six million dogs,
Seven million barrels of porter.
We had eight million bails of old nanny goats’ tails,
In the hold of the Irish Rover.
There was awl Mickey Coote who played hard on his flute
When the ladies lined up for his set
He was tootin’ with skill for each sparkling quadrille
Though the dancers were fluther’d and bet
With his sparse witty talk he was cock of the walk
As he rolled the dames under and over
They all knew at a glance when he took up his stance
And he sailed in the Irish Rover
There was Barney McGee from the banks of the Lee,
There was Hogan from County Tyrone
There was Jimmy McGurk who was scarred stiff of work
And a man from Westmeath called Malone
There was Slugger O’Toole who was drunk as a rule
And fighting Bill Tracey from Dover
And your man Mick McCann from the banks of the Bann
Was the skipper of the Irish Rover
We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out
And the ship lost it’s way in a fog.
And that whale of the crew was reduced down to two,
Just meself and the captain’s old dog.
Then the ship struck a rock, oh Lord what a shock
The bulkhead was turned right over
Turned nine times around, and the poor dog was drowned
I’m the last of the Irish Rover