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Quiz about Fifteen Irish Songs and Ballads
Quiz about Fifteen Irish Songs and Ballads

Fifteen Irish Songs and Ballads Quiz


I've picked 15 Irish songs and ballads and will ask you different kinds of questions about them. Could be lyrics, title, or content. Good luck!

A multiple-choice quiz by PearlQ19. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
PearlQ19
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
256,299
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
10 / 15
Plays
1392
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
- -
Question 1 of 15
1. A famous drinking song is "A Bucket of Mountain Dew". How many geographical places are mentioned in the first stanza of the song? Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. What is the song "A Bunch of Thyme" really about? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. Finish the lyric to get the song title: "Farewell to your bricks and mortar, farewell to your dirty lies / Farewell to your gangers and gang planks and to hell with your overtime / For the good ship Ragamuffin, she's lying at the Quay / For to take oul' Pat with a shovel on his back to the shores of _______________"

Answer: (Two Words)
Question 4 of 15
4. What is the title of the song containing these atmospheric lyrics?
"The night was dark and the fight was over / The moon shone down O'Connell Street / I stood alone where brave men perished / Those men have gone to their God to meet."
Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. The following is the first stanza from one of the most famous Irish ballads:
"By a lonely prison wall I heard a young girl calling / Michael, they are taking you away / For you stole Trevelyan's corn so the young might see the morn / Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay..."
What is the title of the song?
Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. Written by Peter Jones in 1983, this song is based on a series of family letters to the U.S. from a certain place in Ireland. Which place is it (also song title)? Hint


Question 7 of 15
7. "Molly Malone" is surely one of the most famous Irish songs ever. Tell me what Molly is selling... Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. This is the epitome of an Irish drinking song - fast, raucous, and very well-known. If you've never been to Ireland, you might still have heard Metallica's version of the song, including the meaningful lyrics "Musha ring dumma do dumma da / Whack fol de diddle-o / Whack fol de diddle-o / There's _________________" Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. Which metaphorical ballad describes Ireland as a "fine old woman" and the rebels as her "fine strong sons"? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. The following lyrics belong in which famous ballad?
"And I shall hear tho' soft you tread above me / And all my grave will warmer sweeter be / If you will bend and tell me that you love me / Then I shall sleep in peace until you come to me."
Hint


Question 11 of 15
11. This is a lovely lullaby: "On wings of a wind o'er the dark rolling deep / Angels are coming to watch o'er thy sleep / Angels are coming to watch over thee / So list to the wind coming over the sea..."
What is the song title? "The _______________ Cradle Song"
Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. A funny little story is told in the song "The Spinning Wheel": a girl sits by the window spinning, together with her blind grandmother. The grandmother thinks she hears a sound outside but the girl says it's only the wind or the birds, when in fact her lover is waiting for her outside. The grandmother is dozing off, and the girl gives the wheel a good whirl before climbing out of the window to join the boy. By the time the wheel stops spinning and the grandmother notices anything, the young lovers "by moonlight are roving". What is the girl's name? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. Which famous Irish poet wrote the lyrics of "Sally Gardens"? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. Which famous Irish pub song features the "Belle of Belfast City"? Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. What is the first name of the "Rose of Tralee"? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. A famous drinking song is "A Bucket of Mountain Dew". How many geographical places are mentioned in the first stanza of the song?

Answer: 4

"Let grasses grow and waters flow in a free and easy way / But give me enough of the rare old stuff that's made near GALWAY BAY / And policemen all from DONEGAL, SLIGO and LEITRIM, too / We'll give them the slip and we'll take a sip of the rare old Mountain Dew!"
Written by Samuel Lover (1797 - 1869), the song has made its way through numerous recordings. Sometimes the lyrics are changed to "REAL old Mountain Dew", not "RARE".
2. What is the song "A Bunch of Thyme" really about?

Answer: loss of innocence/virginity

"Come all ye maidens young and fair / All you that are blooming in your prime / Always beware and keep your garden fair / Let no man steal away your thyme..."
The author of this is unknown.
3. Finish the lyric to get the song title: "Farewell to your bricks and mortar, farewell to your dirty lies / Farewell to your gangers and gang planks and to hell with your overtime / For the good ship Ragamuffin, she's lying at the Quay / For to take oul' Pat with a shovel on his back to the shores of _______________"

Answer: Botany Bay

Botany Bay in Sydney, Australia, is referred to in many Irish songs. Captain Arthur Phillip, the founder of the city of Sydney, planned to set up a penal colony in Botany Bay. Upon finding that the soil in the bay was unsuitable for the purpose, he moved the penal colony to Port Jackson instead. Nevertheless, many songs reference Botany Bay when they talk about deportation of prisoners.
4. What is the title of the song containing these atmospheric lyrics? "The night was dark and the fight was over / The moon shone down O'Connell Street / I stood alone where brave men perished / Those men have gone to their God to meet."

Answer: The Dying Rebel

The author of this Easter Rising song is unknown.
The colors of the national flag are green, white and orange, not green, white and gold, as said in the song ("He fought for Ireland, and Ireland only / The harp, the shamrock, green, white and gold"). However, the colors green and gold from the Green Flag (1798) have long been firmly established as national colors when the current national flag came along.
5. The following is the first stanza from one of the most famous Irish ballads: "By a lonely prison wall I heard a young girl calling / Michael, they are taking you away / For you stole Trevelyan's corn so the young might see the morn / Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay..." What is the title of the song?

Answer: The Fields of Athenry

"The Fields of Athenry" was written by Pete St. John in 1979 and the most famous version is probably the one recorded by Paddy Reilly.
The story is set during the Great Famine (1845 - 1849). Charles Trevelyan was Permanent Secretary at the Treasury during the famine and was very reluctant to hand out corn from the food depots. The main character in the song, Michael, stole from such a depot and is therefore transported to Botany Bay (see question 3).
"The Fields of Athenry" can also be heard during numerous sports events in Ireland and Great Britain.
6. Written by Peter Jones in 1983, this song is based on a series of family letters to the U.S. from a certain place in Ireland. Which place is it (also song title)?

Answer: Kilkelly

"Kilkelly, Ireland, 18 and 60 / My dear and loving son John..." The song lyrics consist of letters from the father to John, the son who has emigrated to the States, telling him about everything that happens back home - sister Brigid getting married, brother Michael returning, the death of the mother, and so on.

The last letter is written by a brother (presumably Michael) that the father has also passed away. But "he was a strong and feisty old man, considering his life was so hard". The song ends with Michael asking John to come for a visit, although the song implies he is not going to come.
7. "Molly Malone" is surely one of the most famous Irish songs ever. Tell me what Molly is selling...

Answer: cockles and mussels

... alive, alive, oh.
The song is attributed to James Yorkston. Although some people claim Molly Malone is a historical figure and can sometimes still be heard advertising her cockles and mussels (and her body by night), it seems that she is a mere urban legend.
A statue of Molly Malone stands on College Street, Dublin, near the lower end of Grafton Street.
8. This is the epitome of an Irish drinking song - fast, raucous, and very well-known. If you've never been to Ireland, you might still have heard Metallica's version of the song, including the meaningful lyrics "Musha ring dumma do dumma da / Whack fol de diddle-o / Whack fol de diddle-o / There's _________________"

Answer: Whiskey In The Jar

A slightly different version has "the Cork and Kerry Mountains" instead of "the far famed Kerry Mountains". Also, "musha ring dumma do dumma da" is not included in all versions of the song. They have "With your whack fol the diddle day" instead. Don't ask me what it means... Metallica used the "musha ring" version, although the other is the one you hear more often.
Irish whiskey is spelled with "-ey" in the end whereas the Scottish equivalent is spelled "whisky".
9. Which metaphorical ballad describes Ireland as a "fine old woman" and the rebels as her "fine strong sons"?

Answer: Four Green Fields

A very simple, lovely tune. The song was written by Tommy Makem. The four green fields symbolize, of course, the four provinces Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught (Connacht). The "strangers" who take one of the four green fields away are the English. The last stanza holds a promise to reunite Ireland - violently, if necessary:

"What have I now, said the fine old woman / What have I now, this proud old woman did say / I have four green fields, one of them's in bondage / In stranger's hands, that tried to take it from me / But my sons had sons, as brave as were their fathers / My fourth green field will bloom once again said she."
10. The following lyrics belong in which famous ballad? "And I shall hear tho' soft you tread above me / And all my grave will warmer sweeter be / If you will bend and tell me that you love me / Then I shall sleep in peace until you come to me."

Answer: Danny Boy

Funny enough, although "Danny Boy" is considered by most people the very epitome of an Irish ballad, the lyrics were written by an Englishman, Fred F. Weatherly. The tune was originally "Londonderry Air", and only when Weatherly heard the tune and edited his lyrics to match it did "Danny Boy" become as famous as it is today.
11. This is a lovely lullaby: "On wings of a wind o'er the dark rolling deep / Angels are coming to watch o'er thy sleep / Angels are coming to watch over thee / So list to the wind coming over the sea..." What is the song title? "The _______________ Cradle Song"

Answer: Connemara

The author is unknown, and I don't know when this song first came up. Looks like it's got a really long tradition.
12. A funny little story is told in the song "The Spinning Wheel": a girl sits by the window spinning, together with her blind grandmother. The grandmother thinks she hears a sound outside but the girl says it's only the wind or the birds, when in fact her lover is waiting for her outside. The grandmother is dozing off, and the girl gives the wheel a good whirl before climbing out of the window to join the boy. By the time the wheel stops spinning and the grandmother notices anything, the young lovers "by moonlight are roving". What is the girl's name?

Answer: Eileen

This song was written by John Francis Waller (1809 - 1894).
13. Which famous Irish poet wrote the lyrics of "Sally Gardens"?

Answer: W. B. Yeats

The tune of "Sally Gardens" is that of a traditional song called "The Maids of Mourne Shore". Yeats put the words to it in 1889.
14. Which famous Irish pub song features the "Belle of Belfast City"?

Answer: I'll Tell Me Ma

Actually, "Belle of Belfast City" is an alternative title of the song, but most people would refer to it as "I'll Tell Me Ma". Once again, the author is unknown, but the song is a perfect sing-along that everybody knows.
15. What is the first name of the "Rose of Tralee"?

Answer: Mary

"Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning / That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee".
Written by William Mulchinock in the 19th century, this song was a declaration of love to Mary O'Connor, who was a servant girl for the Mulchinock family. Since Mary was afraid that a marriage would be frowned upon, she declined William's proposal. Shortly afterwards, William got involved in a fight that ended fatally for his opponent and, evading charges, he left Ireland. Upon his return he found out that Mary had died from tuberculosis. William married another woman but wasn't happy. He eventually was buried beside his Rose of Tralee.
"The Rose of Tralee" is also a sort of beauty contest held each year in Tralee.
Source: Author PearlQ19

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Bruyere before going online.
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