'Twas in the year of 'thirty-nine
When the sky was full of lead
When Hitler was heading for Poland
And Paddy, for Holyhead.
Come all you pincher laddies
And you long-distance men
Don’t ever work for McAlpine
For Wimpey, or John Laing
You’ll stand behind a mixer
Until your skin is turned to tan
And they’ll say, Good on you, Paddy
With your boat-fare in your hand.

Oh, the craic was good in Cricklewood
And they wouldn’t leave the Crown
With glasses flying and Biddys crying
Sure Paddy was going to town.
Oh mother dear, I’m over here
And I’m never coming back
What keeps me here is a rake o' beer
The ladies and the craic.

As down the glen came McAlpines men with their shovels slung behind them
'Twas in the pub that they drank the sup and up in the spike you’ll find them
They sweated blood and they washed down mud with pints and quarts of beer
And now we’re on the road again with McAlpine’s Fusiliers

I stripped to the skin with Darkie Flynn way down upon the Isle of Grain
With the horsed Face O’Toole, 'cause I knew the rule, no money if you stopped for rain.
McAlpine’s God was a well filled hod, your shoulders cut to bits and seared,
And woe to he who looked for tea with McAlpine’s Fusiliers

I remember the day that Bear O’Shea fell into a concrete stairs.
What Horse Face said when he saw him dead it wasn’t what the rich called prayers.
I’m a navvy short was the one retort that reached unto my ears
When the going’s rough then you must be tough with McAlpine’s Fusiliers

I’ve worked till the sweat nearly had me bet, with Russian, Czech and Pole.
On shuttering jams up the hydro dams or underneath the Thames in a hole.
I’ve grabbed it hard and I’ve got me cards and many a ganger’s fist across me ears.
If you pride your life don’t join by Christ, with McAlpine’s Fusiliers

More lyrics from The Dubliners

  • 03:32
  • 10McAlpine's Fusiliers
  • 13Weila Waila