Galbally Farmer - Darby O’Leary


One evening of late as I chanced for to stray
The town of Tipperary, I struck on my way
For the praties to dig and to work by the day
I hired with a Galbally farmer

The hire that was going, a shilling a day
I took it, I own, tho’ shameful to say
No mention of grub – not even of tay
Or a drink for the road from my hirer

His name was O’Leary, a man hard and mean
With the face of a miser, mangy and lean
I was soon made aware of the fool I had been
To hire with that Galbally farmer

Now Darby was scraggy and wore a hard hat
I gazed at his get-up but he gave me no chat
His eyes, although bleary, could see like a cat
When watching a poor spailpin fanach

Said the crabby ould caffler as he mounted his steed
‘To the Galbally mountains, we’re posting with speed’
My feelings, don’t doubt it, were gloomy indeed
As I struck at a trot out behind him

Before leaving the town, ‘twas painful to see
How he acted the clown on his shaggy stageen
He tore up the street on its head at full speed
To show off his antics on horseback

What a sight was O’Leary and the garran he rode
Going through Tipperary in his claw-hammer coat
Tho’ my feelings were dreary and heavy my load
I couldn’t but laugh at the ould codger

I followed the lead of the daft angishoir
As he capered and wheeled up wild Galteemore
No need to reveal the kind feelings I bore
Towards generous Darby O’Leary

The way that he took wound south on the dale
Below Sliabh na Muc thro’ a green flowery vale
How glorious it looked, were one in the vein
To enjoy all its beauty adorning

The road it got steep and was full of rough stones
That scalded my feet and rattled my bones
The pain grew severe – how I suffered, mo bhron
Trudging that night towards Barna

I asked at the Gap, how far we’d to go
The night it got dark and my steps became slow
I was hungry and tired and my spirits were low
How I needed a drop to revive me

He told me the distance from there to his place
As he sat on his nag, a scowl on his face
Would be less than it was, had I kept the pace
That he set for me leaving Tipperary

He loosened the reins and gave head to his steed
And I, although lame, had to follow his lead
‘twas vain to complain, he paid me no heed
Or cared how I dragged on behind him

When we came to his house, I looked at it first
It seemed like the ruins of an ould preaching church
Oh, cruel was my fate, I was left in the lurch
In the clutches of Darby O’Leary

‘tis well I remember, ‘twas Michaelmas night
To a hearty good supper he did me invite
Bad spuds and sour milk that would physic a snipe
Or give you the woeful disorder

The niggardly rascal looked on with a frown
While I was admiring my shabby shake-down
A tick of wet chaff, all dirty and brown
And a quilt since the time of the Damer

I was tired and distressed from my long and hard tramp
And found when undressed, a bed worse than damp
I’d no hope of a sleep for it seemed the ould scamp
Kept the fleas in his doss in starvation

The following morning before the daylight
I was roused up by Darby, all flurry and fright
Had to weed his big garden, till late into night
When even the ghosts had been quartered

From work without cease and food that was bad
When the darkness came on, I was weary and sad
Parched for a deoch, I touched the old lad
But as well look for down on a badger

‘twas early next morning I opened my cell
And left without warning this happy hotel
His praties and blathach, I pitched them to hell
And likewise king Darby O’Leary

I worked in Kilcommon, I worked in Kenmare
I worked in Knockcarron and Sologheadmore
Nicker, Rathcannon and Boheramore
With decent respectable people

I worked in Tipperary, the Rag and Rosegreen
The moat of Kilfeacle, and the bridge of Aleen
But such cruel tribulations, I never have seen
As I got from that Galbally farmer

And now it is time for to finish my song
I hope that the reign of his breed be soon gone
So here’s to that day – for it won’t be too long
And bad cess to you Darby O’Leary


Song Clip



Song Themes

Rake and rogues