From the recording Saint Patrick's Day
The earliest known printing of ‘Saint Patrick’s Day’ dates back to the late 1750’s when it was included in Oswald's “Caledonian Pocket Companion Book XI." The original melody was to be played slowly in 4/4 time and then followed by a 6/8 variation of that melody, which is the jig most often played by traditional musicians today. The survival of the jig portion of the original printing is most likely attributed to ‘St. Patrick’s Day’s inclusion in Edward Bunting’s “The Ancient Music of Ireland (1840).” In an effort to document what was perceived by many as a dying tradition, Bunting was commissioned to transcribe the tunes played by harpers at the Belfast Harp Festival in 1792. The melody of ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ in Bunting’s collection was played by the blind County Armagh harper Patrick Quinn.