Whiskey in the Jar Lyrics:   5 Reasons to Love This Popular Irish Song

Learning Whiskey in the Jar lyrics gives you the opportunity to sing along to one of the most popular Irish folk songs.  What better way to express your "Irish Side?"  

Irish Expressions - sing along to Whiskey in the Jar!

Want to cut to the chase? Click on the first verse below to find complete lyrics for this famous Irish song, (along with links to two of our favorite performances!)

As I was a goin' over the far famed Kerry mountains
I met with captain Farrell and his money he was counting
I first produced my pistol and I then produced my rapier
Saying "Stand and deliver" for he were a bold deceiver

If you are not in a hurry and would like to know a few more interesting facts about the song, read on for a bit more about the story behind Whiskey in the Jar.

The Story Behind the Song

The song tells the story of an Irish highwayman who commits a robbery against a hated government or military official, only to be betrayed by his sweetheart. song has many versions, some situated in Ireland, some in other countries with Irish populations.  The names of the protagonist and his sweetheart (or wife) also change with the telling.

It has been performed by many artists on many stages.  The Dubliners and Thin Lizzy popularized the song in several different styles, and it even won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for Metallica (of all things) in 2000.

And it is still performed by local artists in Irish pubs around the world.  I know - I've enjoyed many of them in person over the years!

Did You Know?

Metallica Whiskey in the Jar Infographic

5 Things to Love About Whiskey in the Jar Lyrics

Here are some fun facts about Whiskey in the Jar lyrics.  Hopefully they will entice you to sing along next time you hear it!

  1. Whiskey in the Jar is a traditional Irish song. The song mentions a number of Irish destinations, and it tells the story of a highwayman who is betrayed by his lover. The song is known around the world, and it is a symbol of Irish music and culture.
  2. There is no specific origin or songwriter for Whiskey in the Jar lyrics. The earliest known versions of this traditional song include songs called Jenny, The Downfall of the Whiggs and Whiskey in the Bar.
  3. Because the song's lyrics aren't set in stone, there have been many interactions over time. The gist, however, is that an Irish man is drinking whiskey and encounters an Englishman, is betrayed by a lover or otherwise suffers from misfortune.
  4. Whiskey in the Jar lyrics have been recorded by a staggering number of diverse artists. Just a few of the bands and singers who have recorded the song include The Dubliners, The Pogues, Thin Lizzy and Metallica. 
  5. Whiskey in the Jar made its way to America around the time of the American Revolution. The song is largely anti-English, and there are plenty of digs at the British. For Americans shaking off British tyranny, the song was a natural fit, although it didn't gain the long-term popularity of the song in Ireland.
  6. Although the song has long been a staple of Irish music, it didn't become part of worldwide pop culture until the Metallica cover. The band's 1998 version was a rock and roll hit, and it is now the version of the song that millions of people are most familiar with.

The Complete Lyrics for Whiskey in the Jar

Ready to sing along?  Read the lyrics below ... then listen to 2 of our favorite versions of Whiskey in the Jar.

As I was a goin' over the far famed Kerry mountains
I met with captain Farrell and his money he was counting
I first produced my pistol and I then produced my rapier
Saying "Stand and deliver" for he were a bold deceiver

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar

I counted out his money and it made a pretty penny
I put it in me pocket and I took it home to Jenny
She sighed and she swore that she never would deceive me
But the devil take the women for they never can be easy

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar

I went up to my chamber, all for to take a slumber
I dreamt of gold and jewels and for sure 't was no wonder
But Jenny drew me charges and she filled them up with water
Then sent for captain Farrell to be ready for the slaughter

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar

'Twas was early in the morning, just before I rose to travel
Up comes a band of footmen and likewise captain Farrell
I first produced me pistol for she stole away me rapier
I couldn't shoot the water, so a prisoner I was taken

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar

Now there's some take delight in the carriages a-rollin'
and others take delight in the hurling and the bowling
but I take delight in the juice of the barley
and courting pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar

If anyone can aid me 't is my brother in the army
If I can find his station in Cork or in Killarney
And if he'll go with me, we'll go rovin' through Killkenny
And I'm sure he'll treat me better than my own a-sporting Jenny

Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar

Songwriters: Arr Lynott

Whiskey in the Jar lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Our Favorite Performance

Please enjoy this classic rendition by - The Dubliners!


Another Version - Which Do You Like Better?

Here is a fun, live performance from Santiano.


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 - like Danny Boy, Wild Rover and Red is the Rose in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Irish Songbook."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Simply scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address to get instant access!

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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A Note from Bruce

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