Finnegans Wake Lyrics: Expressing the Irish Reverence for ... Whiskey!

Finnegans Wake lyrics share an Irish song with a long history. Like many traditional Irish songs, it has a comedic element. 

Irish Expressions - The High Kings Sing Finnegan's Wake via YouTube


The song is about Finnegan who dies but wakes up again at his own wake when a bucket of whiskey is spilled onto the floor. The song shows the reference that Irishmen show for their whiskey.

Things to Know About the Song

Here are some fun facts about Finnegans Wake lyrics.  Hopefully they will entice you to sing along next time you hear it!

  • The song tells of a man who dies because of an alcohol-induced accident. At his funeral, whiskey is spilled that brings him back to life, completing the whiskey-soaked cycle.
  • Part of the song’s comedy comes from the Irish word for whiskey. Whiskey is a word derived from the phrase uisce beatha, which translates to English as the water of life. In this song, that's true!
  • Many non-Irish natives will notice some unusual vocabulary in Finnegans Wake lyrics. The song is known for its use of Hiberno English, a kind of Irish and English hybrid dialect.
  • Perhaps the most notable fact about the song is that it inspired a novel by James Joyce. Finnegan's Wake, written in 1939, is one of the most recognized and studied books of the 20th century.
  • The song has also made a mark in the world of science fiction. In the novella Riders of the Purple Wave, written by Philip José Farmer, a character named Finnegan is said to have descended from the Irish Finnegan in the original song.
  • It would be virtually impossible to list all the artists who have sung and recorded Finnegans Wake lyrics since it was written in 1850. Just a sampling of the enormous collection include The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The High Kings and Dropkick Murphys.

Finnegans Wake Lyrics

Irish expressions is about having an Irish experience, on demand, wherever you happen to be.  What better way, than to sing along? 

To help you do just that, here are Finnegans Wake lyrics! 


Ah Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin Street
A gentleman Irish mighty odd
Well, he had a tongue both rich and sweet
An' to rise in the world he carried a hod
Ah but Tim had a sort of a tipplin' way
With the love of the liquor he was born
An' to send him on his way each day
He'd a drop of the craythur every morn

Whack fol the dah will ya dance to yer partner
Around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

One morning Tim was rather full
His head felt heavy which made him shake
He fell off the ladder and he broke his skull
And they carried him home his corpse to wake
Well they rolled him up in a nice clean sheet
And they laid him out upon the bed
With a bottle of whiskey at his feet
And a barrel of porter at his head

Whack fol the dah will ya dance to yer partner
Around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Well his friends assembled at the wake
And Mrs Finnegan called for lunch
Well first they brought in tay and cake
Then pipes, tobacco and brandy punch
Then the widow Malone began to cry
"Such a lovely corpse, did you ever see,
Arrah, Tim avourneen, why did you die?"
"Will ye hould your gob?" said Molly McGee

Whack fol the dah will ya dance to yer partner
Around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Well Mary O'Connor took up the job
"Biddy" says she "you're wrong, I'm sure"
Well Biddy gave her a belt in the gob
And left her sprawling on the floor
Well civil war did then engage
T'was woman to woman and man to man
Shillelagh law was all the rage
And a row and a ruction soon began

Whack fol the dah will ya dance to yer partner
Around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Well Tim Maloney raised his head
When a bottle of whiskey flew at him
He ducked, and landing on the bed
The whiskey scattered over Tim
Bedad he revives, see how he rises
Tim Finnegan rising in the bed
Saying "Whittle your whiskey around like blazes
T'underin' Jaysus, do ye think I'm dead?"

Whack fol the dah will ya dance to yer partner
Around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake


Songwriters: Ken Casey / Matthew Edward Kelly / Rick Barton

Finnegan's Wake lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Our Favorite Performance

We love this live-recorded version by the Clancy Brothers.


Another Version - Which Do You Like Better?

A different, somewhat sweeter sound - from the High Kings.


Want More Irish Song Lyrics?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish songs!  The music of the Emerald Isle brings people together, telling stories that touch every human emotion.

Learning the lyrics and singing these songs gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured 10 of our favorite Irish songs in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Irish Songbook."

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What's Next?

Folk songs like this one are an essential part of Irish culture and heritage. Even if you're not really into folk music, these Irish melodies tell fascinating stories that take you back to special times in Ireland's long and proud history. 

Sing them, listen to them, dance to them, to celebrate Irish culture and share your personal Irish side!

For more information of this type, you may want to pay a visit to our main section on Irish Song Lyrics.

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www.irish-expressions.com

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