The Rare Old Mountain Dew

"The Rare Old Mountain Dew" is an Irish folk song dating from 1882.


"The Mountain Dew" was a song about poitín (Irish moonshine) with lyrics by New York musical theater great Edward Harrigan and music credited to Harrigan's orchestra leader David Braham. The tune, however, owes an obvious debt to the older song "The Girl I Left Behind." It was first performed as part of the 1882 Harrigan production The Blackbird.[1] and was later printed in Colm O'Lochlainn's 1916 Irish Street Ballads. The earliest recording in the 78 rpm era was made in New York in 1927 by John Griffin for the Columbia label. Some later recordings used the title "The Rare Old Mountain Dew."

The song is referenced in The Pogues' song "Fairytale of New York":

And then he sang a song
The Rare Auld Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you.



Lilting is often added to the song, either after every second verse or once at the beginning and once at the end, to the same tune as the lyrics. While these vocables vary with the singer, one typical version is "hi dee diddley idle dum, hi dee doodle dydle dum, hi dee doo dye diddly aye day", repeated once.


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