Whiskey in the Jar-O

Whiskey in the Jar-O is a traditional Irish song set in the southern mountains of Ireland. The song is a traditional Irish and Scottish song.

The song usually takes place in various Irish locales, especially Kerry, Cork and Lilmoganny.  Some performers use other locales, especially those in America.

The song tells the story of a highwayman who is betrayed by his wife {or sweetheart}.

Often the details change, whether it is the wife’s name, the title of the official or the details of the betrayal.

The exact origins of the song are unknown.  The original lyrics may have referred to Patrick Fleming, an Irish highwayman, who was executed in 1650.

One folk music historian suggested the song originated with John Gay’s 1728 The Beggar’s Opera, who listened to the song.

One song collector, wrote the lyrics his mother taught him in the 1870s.  These lyrics would be “virtually identical” to what the Dubliners sang in the 1960s.

The Dubliners first performed the song, recording it on three of their albums in the 1960s. 

The Highwaymen popularized the song in the US after recording it for their 1962 album.

Metallica widened the songs audience when they recorded the song in 1998, for which they won a Grammy.

Numerus artist have recorded the song.

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