The Ould Irish Jig

James McKowen (1814 - 1889)


My blessing be on you, old Erin,
My own land of frolic and fun;
For all sorts of mirth and diversion,
Your like is not under the sun.
Bohemia may boast of her polka, 
And Spain of her waltzes talk big;
Sure, they are all nothing but limping, 
Compared to our ould Irish jig.

Then a fig for your new-fashioned waltzes,
Imported from Spain and from France;
And a fig for the thing called the polka - 
Our own Irish jig we will dance. 

I’ve heard how our jig came in fashion -
And believe that the story is true -
By Adam and Eve ‘twas invented,
The reason was, partners were few.
And, though they could both dance the polka,
Eve thought it was not over-chaste;
She preferred our ould jig to be dancing - 
And, faith, I approve of her taste.

Chorus. 

The light hearted daughters of Erin, 
Like the wild mountain deer they can bound,
Their feet never touch the green island,
But music is struck from the ground.
And oft in the glens and green meadows,
The ould jig they dance with such grace,
That even the daises they tread on,
Look up with delight on their face.

Chorus.

An ould Irish jig, too, was danced by
The kings and the great men of yore,
King O’Toole could himself neatly foot it
To a tune they called “Rory O’More”.
And oft in the great hall of Tara,
Our famous King Brian Boru,
Danced an ould jig with his nobles ,
And played his own harp to them too.

Chorus.

And sure, when Herodias’ daughter
Was dancing in King Herod’s sight,
His heart that for years had been frozen,
Was thawed with pure love and delight; 
And more than a hundred times over,
I’ve heard Father Flanagan tell,
‘Twas our own Irish jig that she footed,
That pleased that ould villain so well.

Chorus. 

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