Devanney’s Goat

Reel, D, Traditional Irish
Also known as Devaney’s Goat; Devanny’s Goat

Devanney's Goat; Irish Reel. TrailJams Tune of the Week. Play it together November 13, 2022. Image copyright Jonathan Lay, 2022. Original image of goat & farm animals is in the public domain, from the book "Billy Whiskers at Home," US copyright 1924.

Devanney’s Goat is a jaunty Irish reel. It is generally considered to be “traditional,” but is sometimes attributed to Tommy Whelan, a member of The Ballinakill Ceilidhe Band of East Galway in the 1930s.

The colorful goat in the image above is from the 1924 book “Billy Whiskers at Home,” by Frances Trego Montgomery with illustrations by Frances Brundage and C.W. Frank. My father, who is just about age 90, has had several books from this series on his bookshelf for as far back as I can remember. Now they are on my bookshelf. He read them to our family when I was a child. He told me yesterday that his mother had to stop reading them to him when he was a child because the books inspired him to butt his head into things as Billy Whiskers did. — Jonathan Lay (November 6, 2022)


Dots (Music Notation)

As always for traditional tunes, the musical notation and chords do not indicate the “right” way to play the tune, but are a useful reference.

Sheet music and chords for Devanney's Goat. Traditional Irish Reel in D. Arrangement by Jonathan Lay 11/5/2022.

Play from the Dots
Slow tempo 65bpm
Moderate tempo 85bpm


Examples of sets that include this tune.

TrailJams Devanney's Goat Reel Set: Devanney's Goat; The Galway Rambler; Swinging on a Gate. Traditional Irish Reels. Illustration copyright Jonathan Lay, 2022.
  • Devanney’s Goat Reel Set: Devaney’s Goat (D) / Galway Rambler (G) / Swinging on a Gate (G)
  • Devaney’s Goat / Galway Rambler / Last Night’s Fun

References and Resources

For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.