Paddy Doyle - Songs of the Seas Explained

April 27, 2021

An explanation of the sea shanty 'Paddy Doyle'

The song 'Paddy Doyle' is a short-haul shanty used only for bunting up a sail. Unlike other shanties, this shanty was generally only sung by 2 sailors. The two men would stand on foot-ropes leaning over the yard and heave the bunched up canvas onto the yard in preparation for lashing it in a furled position.

The heave would occur on the last word of the verse, if the canvas was wet it may of taken a couple attempts.

Paddy Doyle was an Irish boarding house master in Liverpool and the song is somewhat satirical mentioning Paddy as 'poor', while in actuality it was a poor sailor who was at the hands of the boarding house masters, who were commonly known for their selfishness.