“Larry O'Gaff”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1845 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 25(1072))
Keywords: Napoleon Ireland marriage rambling return abandonment soldier
Found in: US(MW)


Larry's father leaves when he is a baby in Ireland. He recounts his rambles to England as a hod carrying, bog trotting, soldiering at Waterloo, and retiring "with a wife to spend my life, sport and play, night and day" to Ireland.

Supplemental text

Larry O'Gaff
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From Mary O. Eddy, Ballads and Songs from Ohio, #148, p. 314.
From Mrs. Robert R. Cox, Steubenville, Ohio.

Note that this is one of the later verses in most versions.

We fought like the divil as Irishmen always do,
Nate then we pelted bauld Bony at Waterloo;
Now I've come home and peace I have brought to you,
Welcome to Ireland Larry O'Gaff.
With me hub-bub-bub, hil-li-loo, drums beating rowdy-dow,
All me life play the fife, Patrick's Day fire away;
In the army so frisky we tipple the whiskey,
Whoo! Hurrah for old Ireland and Larry O'Gaff.

Historical references



  1. Eddy 148, "We Fought Like the Divil" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  2. O'Conor, pp. 55-56, "Larry O'Gaff" (1 text)
  3. ST E148 (Full)
  4. Roud #13383
  5. BI, E148