The “Cúil Aodha” polka, pronounced either Kool-Ay or Kool-əə, is a Munster polka named after a township high in the Derrynasaggart Mountains, in the Gaeltacht region of Muskerry, County Cork, which is near the home of composer, lecturer Seán Ó Riada (1931- 1971). Aodha is an Irish name, close to the name Ed (əth), but sometimes strangely Anglicized as Hugh. The word “Cúil” can mean nook, corner, or snug. So, this is “Hugh’s Corner” polka in English. This Cork-style polka is played in several keys, but most often in A or G. It is at the tail end of track 19 on the CD Traditional Music of Ireland (1995) by James Kelly, Paddy O’Brien, and Dáithí Sproule.
On another note, “cuill” is the Irish name of the hazel tree, which is associated with both luck, esoteric knowledge, and wisdom. The wood of the hazel tree should not be burned! It is held to be inspirational to poets, and is used for divining rods and witches wands. In Wales a twig of hazel would be given or sent to a rejected lover. Also, Mac Cuill (given name Éthur) was the last of the Tuatha Dé Danann kings, and was a son of Cermait, son of the Dagda. He was called “Mac Cuill” after the god he worshiped, one Coll (the hazel). He married Banbha, one of the patron goddess of Ireland. Daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Banbha was the first to set foot in Ireland before the flood. Mac Cuill is not to be confused with Fionn mac Cumhaill. All of this has nothing to do with the “Cúil Aodha” polka, of course.
For the ABC click Cúil Aodha polka
Cúil Aodha polka, slow tempo
Cúil Aodha polka, med tempo