The Auld Triangle

Mountjoy

This song has at least two layers of meaning. It was made famous by the Dubliners and historically has been attributed to Brendan Behan. Behan himself was a prisoner at Mountjoy Jail in Dublin, which is situated on “the banks of the Royal Canal.” The jailers would get the attention of the prisoners through the “jingle-jangle” of an iron bar shaped into a triangle.

Alternately, the “Auld triangle” and “Royal Canal” each have a more… ahem… carnal meaning as well.

Here is a great video with a variety of singers, Irish and otherwise, singing in Royal Albert Hall.

The Auld Triangle

A hungry feeling
Came o’er me stealing
And the mice were squealing
In my prison cell
And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

Oh! To start the morning
The warden bawling
“Get up out of bed, you! And clean out your cell!”
And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

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