Larry O’Gaff’s

Jig, G, Traditional Irish
Also known as: Larry O’Gaff; Poteen; The Squid Jigging Ground

Larry O’Gaff is long forgotten, it seems, but the tune named for him lives on in Irish sessions. Larry was a fictional character in a comical ballad of the 1800s. Over the many years since the tune was crafted, it has found its way into other songs including “The Squid Jigging Ground” (Newfoundland) and “Paddy’s Panacea” (Ireland). The tune is also played for contra dance, Morris dance, and, surprisingly, even in old-time American music jams, where jigs are not the usual fare. Be sure to look at the “Nifty Mnemonics” lyrics below for a handy way to remember the melody.


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 for Larry O'Gaff's, Traditional Irish Jig, key of G. Arranged by Jonathan Lay 4/14/2022. Revised 4/22/2022. Chords for Larry O'Gaff's.
Play from the Dots
Slow tempo 70bpm
Moderate tempo 90bpm


Examples of sets that include this tune.

Nifty Mnemonics –
Lyrics for Remembering the Tune

Here are some lyrics to help you remember how the tune goes. The full lyrics to The Humours of Whiskey or Paddy’s Panacea are clever, funny, and worth looking up. You can hear Andy M . Stewart sing them on the album Dublin Lady, which he recorded with Manus Lunny.

The Humours of Whiskey / Paddy's Panacea (Partial lyrics. Traditional. As sung by Andy M. Stewart.)

A Part (partial verse):
   Come guess me this riddle, what beats pipes and fiddle,
   What’s hotter than mustard and wilder than cream?
   What best wets your whistle, what’s clearer than crystal,
   Smoother than honey and stronger than steam?

B Part (chorus):
   Then stick to the cratur the best thing in nature
   For sinkin’ your sorrows and raisin’ your joys.
   Oh Lord knows I wonder if lightning and thunder
   Was made from the plunder of Poitín, me boys!

References and Resources

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