The History and Lyrics of Irish Folksong Galway Piper

People playing bagpipes

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"The Galway Piper," also known as "Piping Tim," is a well-known traditional Irish folk song, commonly categorized as a drinking song, as its lyrics, which tell of a great piper, make for a rousing sing-along. As is the case with so many wonderful old tunes, the person or people who wrote "The Galway Piper" are forgotten to history, though it's known to have been published as early as 1740.


Every person in the nation
Or of great or humble station
Holds in highest estimation
Piping Tim of Galway.
Loudly he can play, or low
He can move you fast or slow
Touch your hearts or stir your toe
Piping Tim of Galway.

When the wedding bells are ringing
His the breath to lead the singing
Then in jigs the folks go swinging
What a splendid piper!
He will blow from eve to morn
Counting sleep a thing of scorn
Old is he but not outworn
Know you such a piper?

When he walks the highway pealing
Round the head the birds come wheeling
Tim has carols worth the stealing
Piping Tim of Galway
Thrush and linnet, finch and lark
To each other twitter "Hark!"
Soon they sing from light to dark
Pipings learnt in Galway.