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The influence of Irish traditional music and dance on popular entertainment in New York is illustrated by the career of Edward “Ned” Harrigan, an actor, singer, playwright and theatre owner who was a founding father of American musical theatre. Harrigan was famous for his partnership with singer/actor Tony Hart and for his lyrics to tunes by Dave Braham. But in his early years on the New York variety stage, Harrigan wrote many comic songs set to traditional Irish melodies, including “Muldoon, the Solid Man” and “Since the Soup House Moved Away.” Irish dancers and pipers (including Kerrigan) frequently appeared on the program of Harrigan’s Theatre Comique, as well Tony Pastor’s Bowery “Opera House” and later theatres. 

Edward Harrigan, singer, playwright / Unidentified photographer. New York, 1800s. Image courtesy New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Music Division

Muldoon, the solid man : a popular song / written and sung by Ed Harrigan ; arranged by R. Steirly

Edward Harrigan, 1874

Public domain