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LIR Songbook

We shall start adding here the songs that have proved famous through the long and illustrious history of the London Irish Rifles.
We welcome receiving your additions to this song sheet.


THE GARRY OWEN.

The Regimental marching song was played by the Irish Brigade Pipes and Drums at the victory marches at Tunis in May 1943, and in Austria in July 1945, and at the Vatican in June and July 1944.
Let Bacchus’ sons be not dismayed
But join with me, each jovial blade
Come, drink and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus:
Chorus:
Instead of spa, we’ll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.
We are the boys who take delight,
In smashing Limerick lamps at night,
And through he street like sportsters fight,
Tearing all before all.
Chorus:
Instead of spa, we’ll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.
We’ll break the windows, we’ll break down doors,
The watch knock down by threes and fours,
And let the doctors work their cures,
And tinker up our bruised.
Chorus:
Instead of spa, we’ll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.
We’ll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
We’ll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin.
Chorus:
Instead of spa, we’ll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.
Our hearts so stout have got no fame
For soon ’tis known from whence we came
Where’er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory.
Chorus:
Instead of spa, we’ll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.


YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE.

Sung by the 2nd Battalion as they went into action on Jan 11th 1943 near to Bou Arada.

You are my sunshine my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away
The other night dear as I laid sleeping, I dreamed I held you by my side
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken and I hung my head and cry
You are my sunshine…
You told me once dear, you really loved me and no one else could come between
But now you’ve left me and you love another and you have shattered all my dreams
You are my sunshine…
I’ll always love you and make you happy, if you will only say the same
But if you leave me to love another
You’ll regret it all some day
You are my sunshine…
Please don’t take my sunshine away.


THE ROSE OF TRALEE.

Sung by Rifleman (later CQMS/RQMS) Edmund O’Sullivan, who served with the 2nd Battalion from October 1939 to March 1946 and the basis on which his Regimental nickname ‘Rosie’ was based.

The pale moon was rising above the green mountains,
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea;
When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain,
That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.
The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading,
And Mary all smiling was listening to me;
The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding,
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.
Though lovely and fair as the Rose of the summer,
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.
In the far fields of India, ‘mid wars dreadful thunders,
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me,
But the chill hand of death has now rent us asunder,
I’m lonely tonight for the Rose of Tralee.

She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,
that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.


D DAY DODGERS.

Sung (to the tune of ‘Lili Marlene’) by the 8th Army in Italy in response to a disparaging remark made in parliament by Lady Astor.

We’re the D-Day Dodgers, out in Italy!
Always on the vino, always on the spree!
Eighth Army skivers and the Yanks
We go to war, in ties like swanks
We are the D-Day Dodgers, in sunny Italy
We landed at Salerno, a holiday with pay
Jerry brought his bands out, to cheer us on our way
Showed us all the sights and gave us tea
We all sang songs and the beer was free
We are the D-Day Dodgers, the lads that D-Day dodged
Salerno and Cassino were taken in our stride
We did not go to fight there, we just went for the ride
Anzio and Sangro are just names
We only went to look for dames
We are the D-Day Dodgers, in sunny Italy
On our way to Florence, we had a lovely time
We ran a bus to Rimini through the Gothic Line
On to Bologna we did go
Then went bathing in the Po
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy
Looking round the hillsides, through the mist and rain
See the scattered crosses, some that bear no name
Heartbreak and toil and suffering gone
The boys beneath, they slumber on
We are the D-Day Dodgers, who’ll stay in Italy
So listen all you people, over land and foam
Even though we’ve parted, our hearts are close to home
When we return we hope you’ll say
“You did your little bit, though far away
All of the D-Day Dodgers, way out there in Italy”