This song is sung to the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".

It's associated with another song called, "We'll all Go Down to Rowser". They were played as a circle game. More recently (though not very recently) people remember the part that goes, "My Mother and Father Were Irish". You can find versions of both songs below...

Notes

*potatoes

More Verses:

A. We kept the cow in the kitchen, etc.
And that was Irish too.

B. They kept the horse in the bedroom, etc.
And that was Irish too.

C. Your right hand to your partner,
Your left hand to your neighbor,
Your right hand to your partner,
And all promenade,
And all promenade,
And all promenade,
Your right hand to your partner,
And all promenade.

Another song to the same tune was called "We'll All Go Down to Rowser". Sometimes the two songs were merged together. Here's one version of just the Rowser song (Rowser is a name):

I. We'll all go down to Rowser,
To Rowser, to Rowser,
We'll all go down to Rowser,
And stay away all night,
And stay away all night,
And stay away all night,
We'll all go down to Rowser,
And stay away all night.

2. My father he will scold me,
Scold me, scold me,
My father he will scold me
For staying away all night, etc.

3. My mother she'll uphold me,
Uphold me, uphold me,
My mother she'll uphold me
And say I did just right, etc.

4. We'll all go down to Rowser's,
To Rowser's, to Rowser's,
We'll all go down to Rowser's
And get some good old beer, etc.

5. It's right and left to Rowser's,
To Rowser's, to Rowser's,
It's right and left to Rowser's,
To get some good old beer, etc.

Here's a version that combines both songs:

We'll all go down to Rowser's,
We'll all go down to Rowser's,
We'll all go down to Rowser's,
For there they keep the beer,
For there they keep the beer,
For there they keep the beer,
We'll all go down to Rowser's
For there they keep the beer.

My father and mother were Irish,
My father and mother were Irish,
My father and mother were Irish,
And I was Irish too,
And I was Irish too,
And I was Irish too.
My father and mother were Irish
And I was Irish too.

They kept the pig in the parlor,
They kept the pig in the parlor,
They kept the pig in the parlor,
For that was Irish too,
For that was Irish too,
For that was Irish too.
They kept the pig in the parlor,
For that was Irish too.

Game Instructions

The children go around in a circle with one player in the center and sing the song.

On the line, "We put the pig in the parlor," the player in the center chooses one kid from the circle to join him in the center.

On the words, "I bought me a fiddle for fifteen cents," the player newly placed in the center chooses another player. That one, in turn, chooses another kid on the words, "We put the sheep in the kettle." Finally, on the line, "And that was Irish stew," the circle breaks up, as each of the four players in the center makes a dash at someone, who tries to escape, and it becomes a big fourfold game of tag.

Version for Older Kids: In this version a girl goes in the center and picks a boy to join her and she gives him a kiss. Then the girl leaves the center and the boy chooses another girl to join him.

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

These songs can be found in Journal of American Folklore, Volume 24 (1911) and American Ballads and Songs (1922) edited by Louise Pound.

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