Woof Guide to Popular Music: Waxie’s Dargle

So my daughter was playing Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii, and I heard an Irish tune I recognized. Turns out it was “Waxie’s Dargle”, which (I have learned) is about going to Dublin’s red light district and drinking heavily. It makes a sprightly tune for a video game, though. Here’s the Young Dubliner’s version.

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  • Tantume

    The waxes dargle was simply the candle makers fair.
    While getting drunk is hardly uncommon in Ireland it was not compulsory.

  • Will Duquette

    Yes, but the lyrics have them going up to Monto Town; Monto was (until 1927) one of the largest red light districts in Europe. I’ll admit the drinking heavily is an interpretation.

  • CC

    I always knew the tune as “Brighton Camp” with “The Girl I Left Behind Me” as lyrics. I know that combination of words/tune goes at least as far back as the Napoleonic Wars (it got a lot of mileage during recent War of 1812 events). That said, I’m not sure if a fife tune about a lost love is any more appropriate for Super Smash Bros. than the drinking song version is – possibly less appropriate. :)

    • Will Duquette

      I knew someone would call me on the fact that the tunes and lyrics are separate things in folk music. :-) Turns out that the Waxies of the title were the cobblers of Dublin, per Wikipedia, and that the excursion known as the Waxie’s Dargle dates to the mid 1800′s. The tune is indeed Brighton Camp, and dates back to 1810.

      Also, on inspection of the lyrics I see that I was wrong about the heavy drinking. Seems the individuals in question are trying and failing to scrounge enough money to go on the excursion, and consequently probably aren’t drinking, though clearly they would very much like to.

      • CC

        Ah well, if they aren’t *actually* drinking, then they’re probably quite alright for children’s video games :)

  • dorcheat

    Be sure to listen and watch the Pogues music video of Waxie’s Dargle on Youtube. This sure is a great and underrated, albeit, primitive music video. I love watching Spider (real first name is Peder) Stacy, the tin whistle player, smash a bear tray on his head for percussion!


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