Molly Malone


3. MOLLY MALONE – 1883, Boston, Massachusetts

Image result for molly maloneAlso known as “Cockles and Mussels”, or “In Dublin’s Fair City”, this popular song is set in Dublin, Ireland, and has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin. The song is sung regularly by fans at soccer and hurling matches, and June 13 has been officially declared Molly Malone Day.

Whether or not Molly ever existed is a long-time debate. The statue of her on lower Grafton Street, erected in 1987, depicts a woman in a 17th century dress wheeling a cart. Though Historians claim she lived in the 1600’s, the song “Cockles and Mussels/Molly Mallone” does not appear in any historic musical record before the 1880’s. She is typically represented as a fishmonger by day and a street-walker by night.

MOLLY MALONE C This version is in the Key of C, developed by our group, T’UkeS.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling



Image result for the isle o' dreams This song is the unofficial anthem of all those who consider themselves to be “Irish Americans”.

To quote Irish Fun Facts: “Written by two of New York’s most prolific professional songwriters, in collaboration with a leading vaudeville performer, none of them Irish.” The credits are shared by George Graff Jr and Chauncey Olcott who wrote the words, and Ernest R. Ball who composed the music for Olcott’s stage production of The Isle O’ Dreams, and Olcott sang the song in the show. In 1912 this was a time when songs in tribute to a romanticized Ireland were very numerous and popular both in Britain and the United States.

Bing Crosby recorded the most iconic version in 1939, then again in 1946 for a movie Image result for when Irish Eyes are smiling
soundtrack, and then released on his album of that name in 1952 which featured all Irish tunes.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling G This is the traditional version in the Key of G

When Irish Eyes are Smiling Our version, Tillsonburg Uke Society – T’UkeS – in the Key of C.

My Wild Irish Rose



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Probably the most famous song that Irish-American Chauncey Olcott ever turned out, published in 1899. The inspiration came from a trip to his mother’s homeland (Ireland) in 1898 by Olcott and his wife, during which a child offered her a flower. When she asked what kind it was, they were told “a wild Irish rose.” Mrs. Olcott had saved the flower by pressing it into an album. Chauncey Olcott was an American stage actor, songwriter and singer of Irish descent, widely known as an accomplished tenor. He co-wrote the popular Irish-American tune “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”. An Oscar-winning movie depicting the life and times of Olcott was made in 1947, called “My Wild Irish Rose”.


My Wild Irish Rose (1)  This version is available from the San Jose Uke Club, with verses.

My Wild Irish Rose  This is our version, also available in a different key at the Doctor Uke website.


The Wild Irish Month!

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March was the best month! Since I am part Irish I really enjoy St. Patrick’s Day songs during the month of March, and even though I don’t know very many authentically Irish songs I do like to regard it as “St. Patrick’s Month”.

This year I was pretty busy preparing songs for the new uke group that I co-founded with my good friend Cheryl. We decided in February to change our delivery of instruction to the group, beginning with a 30-minute instruction that is relevant to the songs we are going to play in the jam session.

Erin Go Bragh

In the spirit of “St. Patrick’s Month” – when everyone is Irish! – I have researched some songs and written some blurbs. I hope none of you will find it too tedious but I am going to do a separate post per song, so that if I want to  include a video it will not be too long of a post. I have several songs already blurbbed up, so I will be doing those first.

For this post, I have created a fun little cue card trivia game that you can use as an ice-breaker and to build anticipation, or use to fill in between songs when you feel your group needs a little break. Just print it out on thicker card stock instead of paper, flip it over and print out the Answer document on the reverse, and presto chango, you’re a St. Patrick’s Day game show host!

Cue Card Game

Cue Card Game Answers