Quare Bungle Eye, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Quare Bungle Eye, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781505.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 2404.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Esther Warkov.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 07/03/1978.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): interview.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

He was a sailor walking up and down the street, and he saw this girl on the corner with the basket. And she asked him to hold the basket while she went around to do something… whatever she was doing. And he held the basket, and she didn’t come back. And he looked into the basket, and there he saw a bundle of a baby in the basket. Right? I’m sorry, I forget all the words of this:

Jack was a sailor who walked up to town
When a charming young damsel he happened to spy
She was standing at a corner as he passed by
‘Would you care for to purchase some quare bungle eye?’
Ra-dee-dye, rye-dee-didle idle-ull, didle-ull-dye.

Now, she handed him the basket and she went away, and when she wasn’t coming back, Jack looked into the basket:

[Jack gave her a pound and he thought nothing strange
She said, ‘Hold then the basket till I run for your change’]
Jack looked into the basket and what did he spy
But a charming young fellow, ’twas Quare Bungle Eye.
Ra-dee-dye, rye-dee-didle idle-ull, didle-ull-dye.

Now to get the child christened was Jack’s intent
And to get the child christened to the parson he went
‘What name will you call it?’ the parson he cried
‘Oh bejabers,’ said Jack, ‘call him Quare Bungle Eye!’
Ra-dee-dye, rye-dee-didle idle-ull, didle-ull-dye.

Said the parson to Jack, ‘Now that’s a quare name’
‘Oh by gods,’ said Jack, ‘and the quare way he came
Dressed up in a basket on a corner at night
And the name that he’ll go by is Quare Bungle Eye.’
Ra-dee-dye, rye-dee-didle idle-ull, didle-ull-dye.

[Now all you bold sailors who rove on the town
Beware of the damsels that skip up and down
Take a look in their baskets as they pass you by
Or else you’ll be sold some quare bungle eye.
Ra-dee-dye, rye-dee-didle idle-ull, didle-ull-dye.]


The lines in brackets have been supplied from a collection of lyrics assembled from materials in the Joe Heaney Collection; unfortunately the corresponding audiotape has gone missing.

‘Quare Bungle Rye’ (the title takes various forms) was a popular item in the repertoires of both the Dubliners and the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. If it’s true that Joe learned the song at home, he may have been the source for these groups, as he was friendly with both of them.

This song was recorded while Joe was Artist in Residence at University of Washington.