"I'd prefer to think that whilst it coexists on some levels with the main corpus of rock music our material has a number of layers within it, each of which will be seen to be valid in its separate way. Ideally it should be like a poem with symbols intimated by key words. The more you read it, the more you can discern and enjoy."
Jim Lockhart, New Musical Express, 7 May, 1977

"The Horslips experience: it was live, it was the music, it was the stories, and it was clever. There was an intellectual stimulation there for people who cared to look for it."
Stephen Ferris, Nationwide, 31 May 2004

Part of the Annotated Horslips Lyrics Pages on
Compiled by Lee Templeton, San Francisco

Albums Annotated - Songs Annotated - Discographies - Print Bibliography and References - Online References - FAQs - Introduction - Permissions

Albums Annotated

Songs Annotated


  1. Official Horslips Site
  2. Annotated Horslips Lyric Pages

Print Bibliography and References

  1. Bangs, Lester, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung,New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988
  2. Carson, Ciaran, Last Night's Fun,New York: North Point Press, 1996
  3. Cunningham, Mark, "The Shamrock Chronicles," Hot Press, 1995
  4. Gedutis, Susan, See You at the Hall: Boston's Golden Era of Irish Music and Dance,Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004
  5. Harper, Colin, Irish Folk, Trad & Blues - A Secret History,Collins Press
  6. Kinsella, Thomas, The Tain, Dolmen IX, Dolmen Press, Dublin, 1969
  7. McCabe, Patrick, The Dead School,New York: Dell Publishing, 1995
  8. Ó hAllmhuráin, Gearóid, A Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music,Dublin: The O'Brien Press, 1998
  9. O'Sullivan, Donal, Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper,Cork: Ossian Publications, 2001
  10. Pendergast, Mark J., Irish Rock - Roots, Personalities, Directions,Dublin: The O'Brien Press, 1987
  11. Wallis, Geoff and Sue Wilson, The Rough Guide to Irish Music, London: Rough Guides, 2001
  12. Yeats, W. B., The Collected Plays of W. B. Yeats, London: Macmillan and Co., 1953
  13. Yeats, W. B., The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats, New York: Macmillan and Co., 1956

Online References: Horslips

  1. Allmusic Guide: Horslips
  2. e-paranoids: Horslips (draws from Wikipedia entry)
  3. Horslips Records: The Official Horslips Site
  4. (Several archived articles or interview transcripts no longer available elsewhere on web)
  5. Shamrock Chronicles Part 1 - no longer active
  6. Shamrock Chronicles Part 2 - no longer active
  7. Tara Telephone - my other site dedicated to the archival history of Eamon Carr's earlier performance/poetry group
  8. Horslips (seems to be earliest page on Horslips still up)
  9. Wikipedia: Horslips

Online References: General

  1. The Fiddler's Companion
  2. Folktrax
  3. Greenman Review
  4. Mandolin Cafe
  5. Mudcat Cafe
  6. Searc's Web Guide to Irish Mythology
  7. The Session

Frequently Asked Questions (which I've made up actually)

Q: Why aren't all the Horslips songs here?
A: I spend some time on each song, trying to find the sites that accurately describe the source tune or illuminate the song lyric. I am greatly indebted to the discussions that have already gone on in the Horslips guestbooks or the research in other articles, but even some of these I'm just finding and reading for the first time. I'm also working through a recommended reading list, and am easily tempted down paths of investigation that aren't directly related to Horslips!

Q: What about the mistakes--and not just those in Horslips' history-- that I see on these pages?
A: My grammar and punctuation skills are ailing and my spelling is notoriously bad. I blame Microsoft's Spellchecker. Any questions, corrections or suggestions -- especially on Horslips' history -- will be gratefully appreciated.

Q: Where do you find your quotes?
A: I've found the quotes in just about every possible source I can think of. Primary quotes from the band themselves are available on the albums, the CDs, the DVD Return of the Dancehall Sweethearts and the many newsclippings at the official site and the archived shows at You Tube. Others' quotes are found in the Official site's older and current guestbooks, ProgArchives reviews, reviews, emails to this site, or blogs as I find them.

Q: More importantly, can I contribute one?
A: That would be fantastic. Email your contributions to the site and provide your name as you wish to be attributed. Anonymous quotes will not be accepted.


No graphics, no photos, no sound files. This is a much less exciting area of the comebackhorslips site for Internet wizardry, but these are the pages that I have spent the most time planning and researching. It was launched in February 2005 with only the structural outline in place and only one page of actual annotation. More has been added two years on, but there is much more to do, but it is my hope to make this a collaborative project incorporating the research and knowledge of many Horslips fans.

Initially inspired by a visit to the Cork City Library, where I spent nearly two hours with a fellow Horslips fan reviewing recordings of the traditional tunes that have served as the basis for Horslips' music, these pages were originally intended to be a guide to others interested in hearing those "traditional airs concealed about their persons" mentioned in the notes to Dancehall Sweethearts.

After beginning the work of assembling a list of earlier recordings of Saint Anne's Polka or Green Gravel, I quickly realized that there was much more information available that illuminated these songs. Much of that has been told in the official Horslips guestbooks over the years, and this project will draw extensively from those pages, both live and archived. It will also use album notes, interviews, and other documented history of Horslips as cited in the Bibliography.

As someone who discovered Horslips by reading a novel, I am uniquely unqualified for this project. If it relied on my own personal experience of the band, my knowledge of the great traditions that underscore their music, and my own scholarship, it would soon run aground with broken links and uninformed ramblings. Instead, I hope to assimilate the enormous amount of knowledge and analysis that has been done by the worldwide community of Horslips fans over the years, as well as the many online histories of related topics, such as traditional Irish music and rock and roll.

For the lifelong fan, these pages will be old news and repetitive information. But my goal is to reach forward to tomorrow's listener who will have the same excitement I have had in discovering what can be found and learned in the music of Horslips.


All contents of The Annotated Horslips Pages (located at and in all subdirectories thereof) are copyright © 2011 by Lee Templeton. Any use of the contents aside from linking to the site (deep linking is explicitly allowed); single copy printouts for private, not-for-resale use are prohibited; including but not limited to publication for resale; storage on private, for-profit servers; or framing of this site's contents within for-profit sites. Violations will be addressed appropriately.

Questions regarding fair use may be directed to

Anyone is free to access these pages for their personal use. Anyone is free to distribute the text for academic or non-profit use. Anyone is free to quote from the text or the copyrighted lyrics; within the "fair use" policy where that particular anyone lives.

But images and text of these pages are not to be recycled in a commercial project.

"We're guilty, yes we'll always plead guilty..."

I have attempted to obtain permission, whenever my use of quotations has exceeded what might be interpreted as "fair use" under copyright law, and particularly in the use of peoples' statements which have been posted in an online environment, from the parties who own the words. I will be posting a list of actual permissions, and acknowledgements of other permissions shortly.

Many thanks to all who so kindly have allowed me to use their insights, and to share their creative work via this site!

Compiled by Lee Templeton, San Francisco
All original contents (c) 2005 - 2011

First Posted: 6 February, 2005
Last Revised: 27 March, 2011