Lanigan's Ball

According to Wikipedia, "Lanigan's Ball" (sometimes spelled "Lannigan's Ball") is a popular traditional or folk Irish song which has been played throughout the world since at least the 1860s and possibly much longer. Though written in a minor key, it generally is played in an upbeat style reminiscent of the party atmosphere in which the story that the lyrics portray unfolds.

The song lyrics are about a party thrown by a hard working young man, Jeremy Lanigan, who, upon the death of his father, has inherited a "farm and ten acres of ground" in Athy, County Kildare, Ireland. Jeremy decides to have the party for friends and relations who supported and helped him out when he didn't have any resources - as the song puts it, "friends and relations who didn't forget him when come to the wall".

The lyrics of the song go on to describe the people who attended the party and the food and drink that was available. In the chorus of the song, the narrator describes his time spent at "Brooks Academy" in Dublin learning to dance in preparation for the ball:

  • Three long weeks I spent up in Dublin,
  • Three long weeks to learn nothing at all,
  • Three long weeks I spent up in Dublin,
  • Learning new steps for Lanigan's Ball.

and

  • She stepped out and I stepped in again,
  • I stepped out and she stepped in again,
  • She stepped out and I stepped in again,
  • Learning new steps for Lanigan's Ball.

Later on in the evening, in one version "Miss Kerrigan" fainted and her "sweetheart Ned Morgan" got upset and started a fight. In another popular version, the fight started when "young Terence McCarthy, he put his right leg through Miss Finerty's hoops" and "got a lick from big Phelim McHugh."  Described in the song as "ructions," this fight "put an end to Lanigan's Ball."

Listen to the audio file(s) here 
Sheet Music  
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