St. Patrick Was A Gentleman reel

Also known as Saint Patrick Was A Gentleman.

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

St. Patrick Was A Gentleman appears in 2 other tune collections.

St. Patrick Was A Gentleman has been added to 23 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: St. Patrick Was A Gentleman
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:(B/ A/)|GE EE B,E E(F/G/)|AF DF A2B(B/A/)|
GE EE B,E E(F/G/)|(AF) DF A2BG|Ge e^d e=d BG|
Ge e^d eB z[G/G/][G/G/]|G[e/e/] [e/e/] e^d ed e[B/B/] [B/B/]|
A[F/F/][F/F/] DF A2BB/A/|GE EE B,E EF/G/|
AF DF A2B(B/A/)|GE EE B,E Ee|eB BA (GF)E:|
X: 2
T: St. Patrick Was A Gentleman
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:Ee e>d|eB B>A|Be e>d|e2 ef|
ge f^d|eB BA/G/|FD D/E/F/G/|A2 D2:|
X: 3
T: St. Patrick Was A Gentleman
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
(e>d)|(cA).A.A (EA).A.A|(BG).G.B d2 (e>d)|(cA).A.A (EA).A.A|(BG).G.B (d2 e)z/d/|
(ce).e.e (ae).e.e|(ce).e.e a2 (a>b)|(c'a)(b^g) (ae).e (d/c/)|(BG).G.B (d2 !fermata!e>).d|
(cA).A.A (EA).A.A|(BG).G.B (d2 e>)d|(cA).A.A (EA).A a|(ae).e>.d (cB) A2||

Thirteen comments

Lyrics for St. Patrick Was A Gentleman

Saint Patrick Was A Gentleman

words by Henry Bennett and John Tolekin (?)

Saint Patrick was a gentleman, and he came of decent people,
In Dublin town he built a church, and he put a’-pon’t a steeple,
His father was a Wollogan, his mother was a Grady,
His aunt she was a Kinnigan, and his wife the widow Brady.

CHORUS (repeat after each verse):
Then success to bold Saint Patrick’s fist,
For he was a saint so clever,
He gave the snakes and toads a twist
And banished them forever.

There’s not a mile in Ireland’s isle, where the dirty vermin musters,
Where-e’er he put his dear forefoot, he murder’d them in clusters,
The toads went hop, the frogs went flop, slap dash into to water,
And the snakes committed suicide to save themselves from slaughter.

Nine hundred thousand reptiles blue, he charm’d with sweet discourses,
And dined on them at Killaloe, in soups and second courses,
When blind worms crawling in the grass, disgusted all the nation,
He gave them a rise, which ope’d theier eyes to a sense of their situation.

No wonder that those Irish lads should be so gay and frisky,
For Saint Patrick taught them first the joys of tippling the whisky,
No wonder that the saint himself to taste it should be willing,
For his mother kept a she-ban shop, in the town of Enniskillen.

The Wicklow hills are very high, and so’s the hill of Howth, sir,
But there’s a hill much higher still, ay, higher than them both, sir;
‘Twas on the top of this high hill Saint Patrick preached the sarment,
He drove the frogs into the bogs, and bother’d all the varment.

Oh! was I but so fortunate as to be back in Munster,
‘Tis I’ll be bound that from that ground I never more would once stir.
For there Saint Patrick planted turf, and plenty of the praties,
With pigs galore, ma gra, ma store, and cabbages — and ladies.

(Note: I think I’ve seen other versions of this lyric, too.)

Ma gra, ma store is actually a gradh mo stor …?

I’ve copied this song from an old book from 1895. But, internet searches give me variations in this phrase, as well as the spelling of Tolekin (Toleken, etc.). Anyway, ‘a gradh mo stor’ (my computer won’t make the forward slant thingie over the ‘r’) is ‘My love, my treasure,’ according to one page I found online.

Christy Moore sings a version of this song to the tune "Maggie In The Woods".

Not sure about those chords [] containing the same note…

Were they meant to be double-stops with a high note and one an octave lower e.g. [G/2 g/2]?

Are they ‘double-stops…’ Hmm..

I don’t know, but, I’d assumed that it indicated a meter shift in the lyric for various verses. Here’s the URL to two photos in my web files, showing the original songbook pages that I took this tune from — maybe they’re a help:

Quote: ‘Not sure about those chords [] containing the same note…

Were they meant to be double-stops with a high note and one an octave lower e.g. [G/2 g/2]?

Posted on November 5th 2003 by Aidan Crossey’

Saint Patrick Was A Gentleman

Patrick was born about 390, in southwest Britain, somewhere between the Severn and the Clyde rivers, son of a deacon and grandson of a priest. When about sixteen years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. Until this time, he had, by his own account, cared nothing for God, but now he turned to God for help. After six years, he either escaped or was freed, made his way to a port 200 miles away, and there persuaded some sailors to take him onto their ship. He returned to his family much changed, and began to prepare for the priesthood, and to study the Bible.

Around 435, Patrick was commissioned, perhaps by bishops in Gaul and perhaps by the Pope, to go to Ireland as a bishop and missionary. Four years earlier another bishop, Palladius, had gone to Ireland to preach, but he was no longer there (my sources disagree on whether he had died, or had become discouraged and left Ireland to preach in Scotland). Patrick made his headquarters at Armagh in the North, where he built a school, and had the protection of the local monarch. From this base he made extensive missionary journeys, with considerable success. To say that he single-handedly turned Ireland from a pagan to a Christian country is an exaggeration, but is not far from the truth.

Update on my above-mentioned web files for this song

I no longer have my web site,, so, if you wish to see the above-mentioned songbook pages, please contact me and I can probably e-mail them to you.

St Patrick Was a Gentleman

I think it’s a polka and is very similar to, but not the same as Maggie in the Wood aka Ar bhFaca Tu Mo Sheamaisin?

St Patrick Was A Gentleman

In Niel Gow’s 3rd Collection of 1792 there is a tune called "Mrs Wemyss of Cuttlehill" which is very reminiscent of "St Patrick was a Gentleman", particularly in the A part. In ‘The Beauties of Gow’ (1819) it is stated, "by Nath. Gow".

Re: St. Patrick Was A Gentleman

In Robbin’s Collection #190 as Patrick Was A Gentleman. Called a "Straight Jig" in 2/4

Patrick Was A Gentleman, X:2

This is the version in the Robbins Collection #190. It is closer to the first Green/Glin Cottage Polka. I’ve moved it down from Bm to Em, a more player friendly key and the usual key of its relatives. Despite the time signature (4/4) it is notated in 2/4 and described as a straight jig.