‘The Hills of Coore’ is a composition of Junior Crehan (1908-98), the well-known fiddle and concertina player from County Clare. Coore is the name of a village near his native Mullagh.
The second tune was composed by fiddle player, Paddy Mills from Belmullet in North Mayo, and is also known as ‘Bushmills’, after the Irish whiskey! I learned this tune from Joe Byrne, a flute player from Aghamore, County Mayo, who has done extensive work recording and collecting tunes from musicians and singers around the county.
Ba é Junior Crehan as Mullach, Contae an Chláir, a chum an chéad chornphíopa. Fuair mé an dara ceann ó Sheosamh Ó
Broin, ceoltóir agus saineolaí ar cheol Mhaigh Eo. Paddy Mills, fidléir as Barr na Trá i dtuaisceart an chontae, a chum.
2. Celia Connellan / The Rectory Reel (Harp Piece /Reel)
The first tune was composed by the 17th-century harper-composer, Thomas Connellan (c1640-c1720) from Cloonamahon, County Sligo. He is said to have composed over 700 tunes, although only a small number are attributed to him today. His brother William was also a composer. ‘Celia Connellan’ appears in a number of collections from the late 18th century, but this particular version comes from Bunting’s 1840 volume of Ancient Music of Ireland (No. 121), having been notated from the playing of Leitrim harper Charles Byrne (c1712-c1810) at the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in 1792. Another setting (No. 49) was collected from Arthur O’Neill (1734-1818) at the same time, and has been recorded on wire-strung harp by Ann Heymann (Ann’s Harp, 1981).
‘The Rectory Reel’ was composed in 1995 by uilleann piper, Patrick Davey from Belfast, while staying at the Old
Rectory in Glencolmcille, County Donegal.
Is le Tomás Ó Connalláin, cláirseoir agus cumadóir as Contae Shligigh, a luaitear an chéad phíosa, ceann de 700 a chum sé le linn a shaoil, más fíor. An píobaire, Patrick Davey as Béal Feirste, a chum an dara ríl agus é i nGleann Cholmcille sa bhliain 1995.
3. Jackson’s Night Cap (or Strike the Gay Harp) /Martin Hardiman’s (Jigs)
‘Jackson’s Night Cap’ is a composition of the 18th-century piper and composer, Walker Jackson from County
Limerick (d.1798). A two-part version can be found in a manuscript collection dating from c1765 (National Library of Scotland), while the three-part version commonly played today first appeared in John Lee’s publication, Jackson’s Celebrated Irish Tunes (Dublin, 1778). The poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) used this tune in his setting of the song ‘The Night Dance’, the first line of which is “Strike the
gay harp! See the moon is on high . . .”. Hence the tune’s more commonly known title. It has appeared in a number of collections over the past 200 years, and is still widely played today.
I learned the second tune from a recording by flute player Catherine McEvoy, who names Boston-based accordion
player Joe Derrane as the source of the tune. It was referred to as ‘Martin Hardiman’s’ by Derrane’s mentor,
Jerry O’Brien (1899-1968) of Kinsale, County Cork.
Píosa de chuid Jackson, píobaire agus cumadóir as Luimneach, é an chéad phort, ar chuir Thomas Moore focail Bhéarla leis, agus a bhfuil fáil air go forleathan i gcónaí. D’fhoghlaim mé an dara ceann ó thaifeadadh le Catherine McEvoy. Tá sé luaite leis an gceoltóir, Joe Derrane as Árann atá ag cur faoi i mBoston.
4. An Draigheann (‘The Blackthorn’) (Slow Air)
This air was composed by Peadar Ó Riada, son of the late Seán Ó Riada. It has been recorded by
Noel Hill on The Irish Concertina (1988), as well as appearing on Peadar’s own recording Amidst These Hills (1994). The title ‘An Draigheann’ (pronounced ‘Un Dree-un’) means ‘The Blackthorn’, and refers to the Ó
Riada home place in Cúil Aodha, County Cork. This arrangement was inspired by Peadar’s piano version.
Baineann an teideal seo le baile dúchais mhuintir Uí Riada i gCúil Aodha agus ba é Peadar Ó Riada, mac Sheáin, a chum. Casann Peadar féin é ar a cheirnín Amidst these Hills (1994) agus tá leagan de ag Noel Hill ar
The Irish Concertina (1988).
5. Henry MacDermott Roe 1st Air (Carolan Piece)
This piece was composed by the well-known Irish harper-composer, Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), in praise
of Henry MacDermott Roe, of Alderford, County Roscommon. The MacDermott Roe family were among Carolan’s most important patrons. This tune is probably dedicated to either the head of the family when Carolan first visited, or his eldest son, who died in 1752. Versions were collected by both Petrie and Forde in the 19th century. As is the case with many of Carolan’s compositions, there is an accompanying verse in the Irish language.
Seo píosa a chum Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin in ómós do Anraí Mac Diarmada Rua as Ros Comáin, duine dá
phátrúin mhóra, a fuair bás i 1752. Tá leaganacha de ag Petrie agus ag Forde agus tá véarsa Gaeilge ag dul leis freisin.
6. Patsy Touhey’s / Maude Miller (Reels)
Both of these tunes appear in O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland (1907). Patsy Touhey (1865-1923) was a renowned
uilleann piper, originally from near Loughrea, County Galway. His family emigrated to America when he was a young
boy. There he had a colourful and very successful career on the music hall circuit as a piper and stage comedian. His career coincided with the dawn of the recording era and a number of recordings of his music exist.
I first heard the second tune from fiddle players, Liz and Yvonne Kane from Letterfrack, Connemara. It can be found on their recording The Well Tempered Bow (2002), where they name East Clare fiddler, “the legendary Paddy Canny”, as their source. ‘Maude Miller’ is also the title of another well-known reel.
Tá an dá ríl seo ag O’Neill. Píobaire cáiliúil ab ea Patsy Touhey a raibh cónaí air i Meiriceá. Fuair mé an dara ceann ó Liz agus Yvonne Kane, fidléirí as Conamara.
7. An bhfaca tú mo Vailintín? (‘Have you seen my Valentine?’) / Clare Island Boat Song (Slow Air / Jig)
The first tune comes from Edward Bunting’s 1796 volume A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music, and is a version of the well-known air ‘An Raibh tú ar an gCarraig?’ (‘Were you at Carrick?’). It was collected from Daniel Black (c1717-1796), a blind harper and singer from County Derry. Although now often interpreted as having religious overtones (relating to the Mass-rock of Penal times), many believe that it was originally intended simply as a song of unrequited love. It is thought to have been composed in the 18th century by Dominic Ó Mongáin from County Tyrone (possibly the blind harper
from that area), for Eliza Blacker from Carrick, County Armagh.
I learned the ‘Clare Island Boat Song’ from Joe Byrne of Aghamore, County Mayo. It was originally collected by the musician and antiquarian William Forde (1795-1850), who described it as “A rowing song heard on the passage to Clare Island” (off the coast of Mayo). It was published (along with several other tunes from Forde’s manuscripts) by the collector, P. W. Joyce (1827-1914) in Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909), under the title ‘Mrs Barbara Needham’.
Leagan den fhonn ‘An Raibh tú ar an gCarraig?’ is ea ‘An bhfaca tú mo Vailintín?’ a bhfuil teacht air i mBunting (1796) agus atá luaite le Dominic Ó Mongáin as Contae Thír Eoghain. Fuair mé an dara ceann ó Sheosamh Ó Broin as Achadh Mór, Contae Mhaigh Eo.
8. The Wind off the Lake / John McHugh’s / The Gallant Tipperary Boys (Single Jigs)
I learned this set of tunes from the playing of John and Kevin McHugh, fiddle players from Foxford, County Mayo. They
had no title for the first one, but it was recorded as ‘The Wind off the Lake’ by fiddler, James Kelly in 1996. It has also been recorded as ‘Tommy Cawley’s’ by Chicago-based musicians, Johnny McGreevy (fiddle, 1919-90) and Joe Shannon (pipes), on The Noonday Feast (1978). This tune is not very widely played, so it may be that the common link was the Mayo born fiddler, Jimmy Neary, originally from the Foxford area, who moved to Chicago in 1929.
The second jig is named after John McHugh’s grandfather, John (1887-1956) from Rinn Eanaigh on the banks of the River
The third tune was very popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It featured in William Shield’s comic opera Robin Hood in 1784 and was later used by Thomas Moore as the air for his song ‘The Young May Moon’. Since then it has appeared in a number of written sources, including the O’Neill and Roche collections, and a variety of texts have been set to it. Other titles include ‘The Dandy O’, ‘The Irish Wedding’, and ‘The Old Figaree’. ‘The Gallant Tipperary Boys’ is the title used by Roche, whose setting is
similar to this one.
Fidléirí as Béal Easa, Contae Mhaigh Eo iad John agus Kevin McHugh agus ainmnítear an dara ceann de na trí phoirt shingil seo do sheanathair John as Rinn Eanaigh ar bhruach na Muaidhe. Bhunaigh Thomas Moore amhrán dá chuid ar an triú ceann, a bhfuil teacht air go forleathan sna cnuasaigh ón ochtú agus ón naoú haois déag sa tír seo agus sa Bhreatain.
9. Kitty Magennis (Carolan Piece)
Another composition of Turlough O’Carolan, this tune was written for Catherine or ‘Kitty’ Magennis, daughter of Arthur Magennis, probably from Tempo, County Fermanagh. It appears in Donal O’Sullivan’s Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper (London, 1958). O’Sullivan’s version was based on that published by John Mulholland in his Collection of Ancient Irish Airs (Belfast, 1810). A one-part version also appears in the Bunting manuscripts, as well as an accompanying verse in Irish, collected by Patrick Lynch from a William Bartley of Killargy, County Leitrim, around 1802.
Píosa eile leis an gCearbhallánach, do Cháit Nic Aonghusa as Fear Manach, a bhfuil cúpla leagan éagsúil de sna cnuasaigh. Arís cuireadh véarsa i nGaeilge leis.
10. Burke’s / Up Boyle’s Hill (Reels)
The source of these tunes is Paddy Joe Tighe, an accordion player from Aghamore in East Mayo, although I first got them from the playing of Peter Duffy, piano accordion and flute player from the same area. They are characteristic of a style of single-row accordion playing once widespread in that part of the county, and come from the repertoire of Paddy Joe’s mother, Kate Neachtain.
The first tune is named after a neighbour and cousin of Kate’s, John Burke, a melodeon player who emigrated to New York.
Kate remembered hearing the second tune as a young girl, being sung by another neighbour, Una Fleming, to her grandchild. She would lilt the tune and put her own words to it. One line started with “Up Boyle’s Hilleen . . .”, so they always referred to the tune by that name. This tune has been recorded by John Lee and Seamus Maguire as ‘The Missing Reel’ (1990). It appears to be a version of the well-known ‘Kerryman’s Daughter’, which was recorded by Michael Coleman in the 1920s. Paddy Joe Tighe himself can be heard playing this selection on the recording Boscaí Singil, produced by Joe Byrne.
Is ó Paddy Joe Tighe, boscadóir as Achadh Mór, Contae Mhaigh Eo, a tháinig an dá ríl seo. Fuair seisean óna mháthair, Kate Neachtain iad. Baineann siad leis an seanstíl áitiúil atá beagnach imithe anois. Leagan den ríl ‘The Kerryman’s Daughter’ atá sa dara ceann.
11. ‘A Munster Jig’ / The Ladies March to the Ballroom/ Máirseáil Alasdruim (Jigs)
The first two tunes come from The Complete Collection of Irish Music as noted by George Petrie (an edition of tunes from the Petrie manuscripts compiled by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and published in three volumes between 1902 and 1905). George Petrie (1790-1866) was one of the great 19th-century collectors of Irish music. Petrie’s source for the first tune (referred to simply as ‘a Munster jig’) was Francis Keane, a fiddler and Irish language scholar originally from County Clare. The second was collected in Connaught, and appears to be a version of ‘The Queen of the Rushes’.
‘Máirseáil Alasdruim’ (‘Allisdrum’s March’) is part of an epic piece preserved in the piping repertoire, and in some collections such as that of Canon James Goodman (1828-96). The title refers to Alasdair (MacColkitto) MacDonnell, who died at the Battle of Cnoc na nDos in 1647. Like many of our old war marches, it is in jig time. A number of versions exist – this particular one is associated
with the piping of the great Willie Clancy (1918-73) from Miltown Malbay, County Clare, who learned it from an old piper in the locality, Mickey McMahon. It can be found in the publication The Dance Music of Willie Clancy (Cork, 1976), edited by Pat Mitchell.
Trí phort dúbailte. Ta an chéad phéire acu ag Petrie, duine de mhórbhailitheoirí an cheoil dhúchasaigh. Is mairseáil in ómós do laoch de mhuintir Mhic Dhomhnaill é an triú ceann atá luaite leis an bpíobaire clúiteach Willie Clancy.
12. Caoineadh Uí Néill (‘Lament for O’Neill’) (Slow Air)
I learned this air from the fiddle playing of Eamonn Doorley (bouzouki player with the group Danú), who in turn got it from the playing of fiddler, Seamus Creagh. There is also another version, which is played in the major key. The title is thought to refer to the great Gaelic chieftain, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who went into exile as leader of the Flight of the Earls in 1607, following the Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale (1601). This air was preserved, like a number of other great Munster airs, in the repertoire of Sliabh Luachra fiddle master, Pádraig O’Keeffe (1887-1963), and his students, Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford.
Ag Eamonn Doorley, de chuid an ghrúpa Danú, a chéad chualas an fonn mall seo. Meastar gur mar chaoineadh ar dheoraíocht an taoisigh, Aodh Ó Néill, a cumadh é. Bhí sé ar cheann d’fhoinn mhóra na Mumhan a tháinig slán anuas chugainn ó mháistir clúiteach Shliabh Luachra, Pádraig O’Keeffe.
13. The Arra Mountains / Lá na Feise (Slip Jigs)
The first slip jig was composed by accordion player, Paddy O’Brien (1922-91) of Newtown, County Tipperary, for his 1973 recording The Banks of the Shannon (featuring Seamus Connolly and Charlie Lennon). The Arra Mountains lie on the eastern shore of Lough Derg, in Tipperary.
‘Lá na Feise’ appears in Volume III of the Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music (1927), where it is described as a ‘hop jig or country dance’. The title can be translated as ‘The Feis (or festival) Day’.
Paddy O’Brien as Contae Thiobraid Árann a chum an chéad phort luascaigh, le haghaidh a cheirnín The Banks of the Shannon. As cnuasach Roche a fuair mé an dara ceann.
14. Sailing into Walpole’s Marsh / The Whistling Postman (Reels)
This version of the first reel is associated with County Kerry, where Walpole was a landlord in Ardfert, north of Tralee. I learned the tune from the playing of Paddy Ryan and Siobhán Ní Chonaráin, whose source was the fiddler, Nicky McAuliffe. I am not sure where I first heard ‘The Whistling Postman’, but it has been recorded by various artists such as John Carty (fiddle and banjo) and James Keane (accordion).
Luaitear an chéad ríl acu seo le Contae Chiarraí agus ba ó Shiobhán Ní Chonaráin agus Paddy Ryan a d’fhoghlaim mé é. Tá taifeadadh déanta ar an dara ceann ag ceoltóirí éagsúla ar nós John Carty agus James Keane, ach nílim cinnte cár chualas i dtosach é.