“The Boys of Kilkenny”

Author: Words: Arthur Matthison/Music: W. F. Wellman
Earliest date: 1807 (sung by Thomas Moore, according to Croker-PopularSongs)
Keywords: homesickness courting exile nonballad rake
Found in: Ireland


"Oh the boys of Kilkenny are brave roaring blades." They kiss and coax every girl they meet. The singer remembers a "pretty dame" from Kilkenny. Now he's in exile; if he were in back there, he could get "sweethearts but here can get none"


Source: Re author--the Bodleian Library broadside.

Croker-PopularSongs says Thomas Moore, whom he admits he incorrectly believed wrote the song, "sung 'The Boys of Kilkenny' in England, where he became a permanent resident about 1807."

Broadside LOCSinging as101550: J. Andrews dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Cross references



  1. OLochlainn 73, "The Boys of Kilkenny" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. O'Conor, p. 44, "The Boys of Kilkenny" (1 text)
  3. Croker-PopularSongs, pp. 196-199, "The Boys of Kilkenny" (1 text)
  4. Roud #1451
  5. BI, Ocon044