The Best ITM Tune-Learning Tutor

Category Archives: Irish Tunes

Julia Delaney’s (Ddor)

Julia Delaney was the sister-in-law of our beloved Captain Francis O’Neill — she was the sister of O’Neill’s wife Anna (née Delaney).  The tune is from around the turn of the last century, and most likely composed in the Chicago area. The reel “Julia Delaney’s” (or just “Julia Delaney”) was the fourth track of the Bothy […]

Newport Lass (D)

The double jig “Newport Lass(es)” or “Gearrchaile Bhaile Uí bhFiacháin” in Irish, is a two part jig played AABB, and also called “Trip to Athlone.” For instance, it’s called the latter on Paddy Canny (1919–2008) & P. J. Hayes (1921 – 2001) recording (with Peadar O’Loughlin, and Bridie Lafferty) entitled All Ireland Champions: Violin (1959), re-released as An […]

Ships are Sailing (Edor)

The reel “Ships Are Sailing,” or “Longa Ag Seolad” in Irish, is usually played AABB, but sometimes played ABAB. It has been recorded many, many times.  The Flanagan Brothers do a banjo version on their The Tunes We Like to Play on Paddy’s Day (1930), there’s an interesting solo fiddle version on Bobby Casey’s Casey in […]

Saddle the Pony (G)

This jig, Cuir Diallaid Air An Clibin in Irish, will be played in Amix as well as G, and is a member of the family of tunes which includes “Buttermilk Mary” (G). A cousin of this tune, the Donegal jig “The Pet in the Kitchen,” has a very similar B part, at least in some versions […]

Anything for JohnJoe (D)

This is a popular session tune in many places, but it’s not played much in KC area sessions. It is also called “Anything for Johnjo” and “Anything for John Joe.” It is played in a set “Johnny When You Die > Anything for John-Joe” on the Denis Murphy (1910-1974) & Julia Clifford (1914-1997) The Star […]

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 […]

Chief O’Neill’s Favourite (D)

Chief O’Neill, the eponym of this tune, “Chief O’Neill’s Favourite,” was Francis O’Neill (1848-1936), born in county Cork. He was a cabin-boy on an English merchant ship in the 1860s, eventually immigrating to the States. He moved to Chicago with his wife and joined the police force at the age of 25. He became the […]

Killavil (D)

“Killavil”  is a (double) jig from co. Sligo. Killavil is a parish south of Sligo, and the birthplace of the great twentieth century Irish fiddler Michael Coleman (1891-1945).  The name is probably an endocentric compound (or perhaps just a copulative compound) of “cill” (church) and “abhaile” (home, or lit. homeward), and so means something like “Home-Church” […]

Blackthorn Stick (G) 

The Blackthorn tree (prunus spinosa), is a member of Rosaceae (the rose family), and has reddish-black bark with protruding sharp spines, and so it’s also called the “European spiny plum.”  Blooming as early as March, it is, like dandelions, an important first-food for bees.  The Blackthorn is an hermaphroditic insect-pollinated hard-wood tree with small white flowers. It is […]

Mason’s Apron (A)

The first sound recording of “Mason’s Apron” appears to have been by New York accordion player John J. “Dutch” Kimmel in 1915.  Sligo fiddle master Paddy Killoran (1904-1965) recorded “Mason’s Apron” as a two-part reel in March, 1939. Some play it with an added third part. Some fiddlers play pizzicato notes during the tune as […]