Lyrics and chords
The lyrics to this popular version of Roddy McCorley were written by Ethna Carbery in 1898 but were not published until 1904.
They tell the story of the execution of McCorley for his part in the 1798 Irish Rebellion.
The chords here are given in C Major – the key used by Shane MacGowan and The Popes.
The Clancy Brothers play it in the key of E Flat Major. If you want to play it in E flat then you can do so by putting a capo on the third fret of the guitar and using the chord shapes given below.
The Dubliners featuring Ciaran Bourke on vocals sing it in D Major. Place a capo on the second fret and use the chord shapes below to play in D Major.
Roddy McCorley – lyrics and chords in C Major
OhCsee the host ofAmfleet footCmen,WhoFmarch with facesCwan,From farmstead and fromFfishers’Ccot,AAmlong theFbanks ofGBan;TheyCcome with vengeanceFin theirCeyes.AmToo late!FToo late areGthey,ForCyoung Roddy McCorleyAmgoes to dieOn theFbridge of ToomeCtoday.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oh Ireland, Mother Ireland,You love them still the bestThe fearless brave who fighting fallUpon your hapless breast,But never a one of all your deadMore bravely fell in fray,Than he who marches to his fateOn the bridge of Toome today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Up the narrow street he stepped,So smiling, proud and young.About the hemp-rope on his neck,The golden ringlets clung;There’s ne’er a tear in his blue eyes,Fearless and brave are they,As young Roddy McCorley goes to dieOn the bridge of Toome today.
When last this narrow street he trod,His shining pike in handBehind him marched, in grim array,An earnest stalwart band.To Antrim town! To Antrim town,He led them to the fray,But young Roddy McCorley goes to dieOn the bridge of Toome today.
The grey coat and its sash of greenWere brave and stainless then,A banner flashed beneath the sunOver the marching men;The coat hath many a rent this noon,The sash is torn away,And Roddy McCorley goes to dieOn the bridge of Toome today.
Oh, how his pike flashed in the sun!Then found a foeman’s heart,Through furious fight, and heavy oddsHe bore a true man’s partAnd many a red-coat bit the dustBefore his keen pike-play,But Roddy McCorley goes to dieOn the bridge of Toome today.
There’s never a one of all your deadMore bravely died in frayThan he who marches to his fateIn Toomebridge town today;True to the last! True to the last,He treads the upwards way,And young Roddy McCorley goes to dieOn the bridge of Toome today.
See also the lyrics to the original version of Roddy McCorley dating back to the time of 1798 Rebellion.
More on Roddy McCorley
Roddy McCorley page 1
Roddy McCorley page 2
Original Version of Roddy McCorley
Belfast Newsletter account of McCorley’s execution
Recordings of Roddy McCorley
Lyrics and Chords