Fall Down Billy O’Shea

There are many versions of this “shanty”, suggesting that it is traditional.  However, it appears to have been written, in Dublin, by Iain McCarthy around 1963.  Iain gave the song to Dave Smyth, one of the founders of the Coffee Kitchen folk club in the City, who was in a group called "The Buskers". They recorded the song in 1965, but by then the folk process was already at work and the song had drifted off, being handed on to many singers of the day.

Fall Down Billy O’shea


We all got drunk in Dublin City
Fall down, me Billy
We all got drunk – oh what a pity                                                                                               

Fall down, Billy O'Shea


Fall down, fall down, Fall down, me Billy
We're bound away for Americay
Fall down, Billy O'Shea

Fell asleep on Rogerson's quay
When we awoke we were all at sea

We are no sailors Captain dear
And not inclined to reef or steer

The Captain said, "I've a cure for that"
"And here for a start is a dose of the cat"

He sent him then to the tops’l yard
When he hit the deck, he hit it hard

We wrapped him up in a canvas sail
And gently lowered him o'er the rail

Over the side and down he goes

To Davy Jones with a stitch through his nose

Chorus x 2