Donnybrook Fair jig

Also known as An Carbhat, Andy Keone’s, Aonach Domhnach Broc, Aonach Domhnach Brocach, The Caravat, The Humours Of Donnybrook, The Joy Of My Life, The Joys Of Life, The Joys Of Love, Joys Of My Life, The Joys Of My Life, Kiss Me I’m Irish, Lutgair Mo Beata, Our Little Green Isle, The River Cree.

There are 84 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

Donnybrook Fair appears in 6 other tune collections.

Donnybrook Fair has been added to 216 tune sets.

Donnybrook Fair has been added to 1,228 tunebooks.

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Seven settings

X: 1
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G2G A2A|Bee dBA|B2B GAB|AGF G3:|
gfe fed|efe dBA|Bee dBA|Bee e2f|
[1gfe fed|efe dBA|BAB GAB|AGF G2f:|
[2gfg aga|bge dBA|B2B GAB|AGF G3||
X: 2
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:~G3 ~A3|B2e dBA|~B3 GAB|AGE EDE|
~G3 ~A3|B2e dBA|B2B GAB|AGF G3:|
|:~g3 fed|e/f/ge dBA|B2e dBA|Bed e2d|
[1 ~g3 fed|e/f/ge dBA|BAB GAB|AGF G2d:|
[2 gfe agf|gfe dBA|B2B GAB|AGF G3||
X: 3
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
f|gfe fed|efg dBA|Bee dBA|Bee e2 f
[1 gfe fed|efg dBA|BAB GAB|AGF G2:|
[2 gbg faf|ege dBA|BAB GAB|AGF G2||
X: 4
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:"G"GFG "D"AGA|"Em"Bee dBA|BAB GAB|"Am"AGE DED|"G"G2G "D"A2A|
"Em"Bee dBA|B2B "C"GAB|"D"AGF "G"G3:|"Em"gfe fed|efe dBA|
Bee dBA|Bee e2f|1 gfe fed|efe dBA|"Am"BAB GAB|
"D7"AGF "G"G2f:|2 "Em"gfg "D"aga|"Em"bge dBA|"Am"B2B GAB|"D7"AGF "G"G3||
X: 5
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:gfe fed|efe dBA|efe dBA|Bee e2f|
[1gfe fed|efe dBA|BAB GAB|AGF GBd:|
[2 g3 aga|bge dBA|BAB G2B|AGF G3||
X: 6
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Fmaj
edc f2d|edc d2c|Add cAG|Add d2c|
X: 7
T: Donnybrook Fair
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
~G3 AGA|Bee dBA|BAB GAB|1 AGF G2D:|2 AGF G2f:|
gfe fed|ege dBA|Bee dBA|Bee e2f|
[1gfe fed|e/f/ge dBA|BAB GAB|AGF G2f:|
[2gfg aga|bge dBA|BAB GAB|AGF G3||

Twenty-three comments

I’ve shown two ways of playing the opening phrase here. Lengthening the notes (e.g. from GFG to just one long G) can be used for to good effect.

This jig is a staple of many sessions so, more often than not, you’re going to hear it played at a fairly fast pace.


This is one of the “intermediate” flute lessons from Scoiltrad, and is called “Hummours of Donnybrook” there. Highly recommended.

Learnt this tune formally at a workshop today, although I was already a little familiar with it from local sessions. The teacher said that “Tell Her I Am” goes well with it.


Donny and Sergeant

In my band Killieburne Brae we’ve put Donny together with the song The Recruiting Sergeant. First, two rounds of donny in G, then three verses Serg in Em, then back for another round of Donny, culminating in the fourth vers Serg. We find it really powerful!

Another good partner for Donny

I was taught this tune in the 80’s by pipe maker, Geoff Woof, and he played it with ‘pay the reckoning’. It’s a nice set.

Donnybrook Fair

Sometimes known in Scotland as “The River Cree” after a dance of that name for which this tune is used.

It has lyrics

This tune was sung by Tommy Makem. Lyrics are:
There tinkers and nailers and beggars and tailors
And singers of ballads and girls of the sieve
With Barrack street rangers, the known ones and strangers
And many that no one can tell how they live
There horsemen and walkers and likewise fruit-hawkers
And swindlers the devil himself that would dare
With pipers and fiddlers and dandlers and diddlers
All met in the humours of Donnybrook Fair

’Tis there are dogs dancing and wild beasts a-prancing
With neat bits of painting, red, yellow and gold
Toss players and scramblers and showmen and gamblers
Pick-pockets in plenty, the young and the old
There are brewers and bakers and jolly shoemakers
With butchers and porters and men that cut hair
There are montebanks grinning, while others are sinning
To keep up the humours of Donnybrook Fair

Brisk lads and young lassies can fill up their glasses
With whiskey and send a full bumper around
Jig it off in a tent till their money’s all spent
And spin like a top till they rest on the ground
Oh Donnybrook capers to sweet cat-gut scrapers
They bother the vapours and drive away care
And what is more glorious, there’s naught more uproarious
Hurrah for the humours of Donnybrook Fair

Oops forgot the first part

I only posted the last verses.
Here are the opening verses:

To Donnybrook steer all you sons of Parnassus
Poor painters, poor poets, poor newsmen and knaves
To see what the fun is that all fun surpasses
The sorrows and sadness of green Erin’s slaves
Oh Donnybrook Jewel! Full of mirth is your quiver
Where all flock from Dublin to gape and to stare
At two elegant bridges without e’er a river
So success to the humours of Donnybrook Fair

Oh you lads that are witty, from famed Dublin city
And you that in pastime take any delight
To Donnybrook fly, for the time’s drawing nigh
When fat pigs are hunted and lean cobblers fight
When maidens so swift run for a new shift
Men muffled in sacks, for a shirt they race there
There jockeys well booted and horses sure-footed
All keep up the humours of Donnybrook Fair

The mason does come with his line and his plumb
The sawyer and carpenter, brothers in chips
There are carvers and guilders and all sorts of builders
With soldiers from barracks and sailors from ships
There confectioners, cooks and the printers of books
There stampers of linen and weavers repair
There widows and maids and all sorts of trades
Go join in the humours of Donnybrook Fair

didn;t know it had lyrics, love this tune! 🙂

I just learned and presented this tune at our kitchen session. I was informed by our guitarist/banjo player, to my amusement and surprise, that a “donnybrook” was a common name for a brawl, which could happen anywhere….bar, hockey game, etc.

I think I like the lyrics re: the fair, as an explanation, much better!

Donnybrook Fair History

Donnybrook Fair was a fair that used to be held in Donnybrook, Dublin from the 13th century until the 1850s. It has given its name to an Irish jig, a broadsheet ballad, and a slang term for a brawl or riot.

In the year 1204 King John of England granted a licence to the corporation of Dublin to hold an eight-day fair in Donnybrook. In 1252 the duration was extended to fifteen days. Over the years the terms of holding the fair changed slightly, until in the 18th century it was held on 26 August on Donnybrook Green for a fortnight.

By the beginning of the 19th century the fair had become more a site of public entertainment and drinking than a fair proper and many attempts were made to have it abolished. However, the licence-holder had by law the right to hold the fair, and refused to bow to public pressure.

The licence had been passed from Henry Ussher (died 1756) to William Wolsey, who leased it in 1778 to John Madden and then sold it to him in 1812. A committee (The Committee for the Abolition of Donnybrook Fair) was set up to acquire the licence for the fair, in order to put an end to it, and the licence was finally purchased from John and Peter Madden in 1855 for £3,000, under the auspices of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Joseph Boyce.

Donnybrook Fair, X:3

This version – with quite a few minor differences – appears in O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland - 1001 Gems (1907), p. 29, no. 79, as The Joy of my Life, Lutgair Mo Beata.
Nice jig.

Donnybrook Fair, X:4

Just adding the harmonization our group uses… incidentally handwritten on what I suspect is a VERY old (GIF era) printout of X1 by Jeremy 🙂 It’s time for a nice updated printed copy.

This is also the Dubliners’ “Easy and Slow”.

It was down by Christ Church that I first met with Annie
A neat little girl and not a bit shy
She told me her father had come from Dungannon
And would take her back home in the sweet bye and bye

And what’s that to any man, whether or no
Whether I’m easy, or whether I’m true
As I lifted her petticoat, easy and slow
And I tied up my sleeve for to buckle her shoe

All down the way Thomas Street, down to the liffey
The sunlight was gone, and the evening grew dark
Along by Kingsbridge, and by God in a jiffy
My arms were around her, beyond in the park

And what’s that to any man, whether or no
Whether I’m easy, or whether I’m true
As I lifted her petticoat, easy and slow
And I tied up my sleeve for to buckle her shoe

Oh, from city or country, a girl is a jewel
And well made for grippin’, the most of them are
But any young fellow is really a fool
If he tries at the first time to go a bit far

And what’s that to any man, whether or no
Whether I’m easy, or whether I’m true
As I lifted her petticoat, easy and slow
And I tied up my sleeve for to buckle her shoe

And if ever ye´ go, to the town of Dungannon
You can search ´till your eyeballs are empty and blind
Be you lyin´ or walking or sitting or running
A girl like Annie you´ll never find

And what’s that to any man, whether or no
Whether I’m easy, or whether I’m true
As I lifted her petticoat, easy and slow
And I tied up my sleeve for to buckle her shoe

Sara Piazza’s

This jig comes from Sara Piazza of Martha’s Vineyard, who plays it as the meat in a set with the Frost is All Over and Jerry’s Beaver Hat. The first few bars of the A part bare some similarity to the Munster Jig, but the high g part separates the two sufficiently.

Donnybrook Fair, X:6

A version in F my son Ruairí taught me. He learned it as ‘The Joy Of My Life’ in a concertina workshop from Jack Talty.

Re: Donnybrook Fair

Hello! Im wokring on a big project with recording all tunes I know in slow tempo togehter
with som tools and flute exercises for anyone to use and learn and practice along with.
Hope you find good use of it!




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