This song was first published in 1888 and attributed to Thomas Casey (words) and much later Charles Connolly (music). The song is a work song, and makes references to the construction of the American railroads in the mid-19th century. The tarriers of the title refers to Irish workers, drilling holes in rock to blast out railroad tunnels. It may mean either to tarry as in delay, or to terrier dogs which dig their quarry out of the ground. (source)


Every morning at seven o’clock
There’s twenty tarriers a-workin’ at the rock
The boss comes along and he says, “Keep still
And come down heavy on the cast iron drill.”

So drill, ye tarriers, drill
Drill, ye tarriers, drill
Oh it’s work all day for the sugar in your tay
Down beyond the railway
So drill, ye tarriers, drill.

2. Our new foreman is John McCann
I’ll tell you sure, he’s a blamed mean man
Last week a premature blast went off
And a mile in the air went big Jim Goff. Refrain

3. Next time payday comes around
Jim Goff was short one buck he found
“What for?” asked he, then this reply
“You were docked for the time you were up in the sky.”

Recorder Notes EF#GAB

See also

Extras for Plus Members

  • Song with chords in 2 keys, Orff arrangement with glockenspiel countermelody (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen