This shanty was used specifically for bunting a sail in furling, and was sung in chorus, the last syllable a heavy shout as all hands gave a tremendous lift to the heavy canvas sail. The middle folds of a half-furled sail, i.e. the bunt, is raised on to the yard with one strong pull. Rarely did the process require more than one or two attempts. Harlow gives his account in The Making of a Sailor:

There must be teamwork to accomplish any heavy undertaking and the chantey, wherever sung, marks the time where all willing arms must pull in unison.

With several lines of "Paddy Doyle" bordering on the obscene, the words that we sang cannot be given here. Strange to say, all those men knew what was coming for they sang the lines as if they were reading from a book, so familiar were they with the chantey. One seldom hears more than two verses of this song, however, to toss a bunt.

Joanna Colcord identifies Paddy Doyle as a famous dive-keeper in Liverpool who allegedly kept a cow's horn in the back yard for "green hands" to solemnly march around so as to be able to tell a doubting skipper they had "been three times round the Horn!" Most other authors attribute that feat to Paddy West but Doyle is generally associated as a fellow inn-keeper. Captain Maitland, for example, recounts that Doyle "kept an old run-down boarding house - a straw house, up on the London Road (I think)". Fred H. Buryeson in the "Coast Seamen's Journal", June 23, 1909, states

Paddy Doyle, by the way, was a Liverpool shoe-maker, known to all the "packet rats" sailing out of that port for the excellency of his sea-boots, and beloved for his readiness to trust any of the boys for the price of a pair when they were outward bound across "the big pond."

Whether this praise was tongue-and-cheeck, Buryeson was on board the Young America in 1860. John Winrow, Assistant Curator at the National Museums Liverpool finds a Patrick Doyle listed in Gores Liverpool trade directory for 1841 owning a marine store close to the docks at Nelson court, '19, Queen street - stores, 12 and 14, Neptune street. The directory also lists a Hugh Doyle, boot & shoemaker, 79 Paradise Street, again not far from the docks.