Tag Archives: IWW

Irish Washer Woman

About a decade back, I was playing regularly at retirement homes. The only jig ever requested was Irish Washer Woman.

I had noticed that many collections of American fiddle tunes included Haste to the Wedding. That being the only jig in a collection of hoedowns, you would think it a popular tune. No one ever asked for it.

One of my string colleagues reminded me why Irish Washer Woman is popular, especially with people just a little older than me. It was thematic in a John Wayne movie, The Quiet Man.

Playing Irish Washer Woman as often as I do, I got in the habit of abbreviating it I.W.W. This amused me also because the same letters stand for the now defunct workers’ union, International Workers of the World. People used to ridicule the organization saying the letters stood for “I Won’t Work,” or “I Want Whiskey.”

My last comment: I really play the tune in F when I do it with a medley that starts with Scatter the Mud, goes to Kilfenora Jig, then to I.W.W. But the rest of the world plays it in G. That’s what we have here.

The pdf of Irish Washer Woman.