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Category Archives: Hornpipe

Plains of Boyle (D)

Often called “The Wexford” by pipers, the hornpipe “Plains of Boyle” used to often be played in the set “Plains of Boyle > Leitrim Fancy” at the beginning of the twentieth century.  You can hear a snippet of a 78rpm recording from 1924 of the piper Michael J. Gallagher playing the tune in that set. […]

Home Ruler (D)

The hornpipe “Home Ruler” was composed in the 1960’s by the co. Antrim fiddler Frank McCollam. In sessions it is sometimes called “Home Rule” or “Daniel O’Connell, the Home Ruler” and thought to commend the belief in Irish Home Rule championed by, for example, Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) and James Brown Armour (1841–1928).  You will also find […]

Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (Ador)

“Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine” is pretty common Ador hornpipe at Irish sessions in the US. Across the pond it’s played in Edor and called “Napoleon Crossing the Rhine.”  It’s also known as “Listowel Hornpipe” and “(Farewell) Sweet Killaloe” in areas of New England.  It has many other names as well, but most refer in some […]

Jacky Tar (Edor)

I learned this hornpipe as “Éamonn McGivney’s,” though there are not many around here who call it that.  Éamonn McGivney’s is a fiddler from Miltown Malbay, Clare co., and this is (apparently) his setting of a version of “Cuckcoo’s Nest” which is also a version of “Jacky Tar.” This hornpipe is probably most widely known as […]

Smokey Chimney (D|A)

“The Smokey Chimney” is a strange little hornpipe, a fact which makes me like it even more.  It is in two keys, and so seemslike some kind of hornpipe mash-up — which it is.  It is tune #1635 in O’Neill’s 1850 (i.e., O’Neill’s Music of Ireland, 1903) as a two part tune, the first two parts […]

Harvest Home (D)

The hornpipe “Harvest Home” is also called “The Cork Hornpipe” by people from cork, and called “Baile an Fhómhair” by people who prefer its Irish name.  The tune was known in the States in the 1840s.  It’s probably more fun to play than to listen to.  It requires some work to make the melody flow smoothly […]

An Comhra Donn (D)

The hornpipe “An Comhra Donn” is light-hearted.  I learned from a Belfast concertina player in the mid-1980s and brought to the KC sessions back in 2007.  The name is pronounced “Ahn Cowrah Dune” and translates from Irish to English as “The Brown Box” – an Irish euphemism for a coffin.  Comhra (coffin) is not to be […]

Rights of Man (Eaeol)

The hornpipe “Rights of Man” is a popular hornpipe, and also known as “Bedlam Boys” (though there are other tunes by this name as well).  It has been attributed to James Hill, though admittedly there is scant evidence.  It shows up in all the major Irish tune collections I’ve encountered.  Some people regard it as […]

Off to California (G)

The hornpipe “Off to California” is #859 in O’Neill’s 1001 – that is, O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland (1903). O’Neill apparently heard it in California, and gave it this name.  So, unlike many other tunes, this one has only a couple of other names.  The origin of this one is unknown as well, though it […]

Boys of Bluehill (D)

This hornpipe, “Boys of Bluehill,” or “Buacailli Ua Cnoc-Gorm” in Irish, is a session favorite. Our old friend Chief O’Neill reported that the melody was unknown to Chicagoland Irish musicians until he transcribed it from the playing of a seventeen year old fiddler named George West, a gifted musician suffering from penury and without his own […]