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Category Archives: Tune

Convenience Reel (D)

Also called “Boys of Sligo” this three-part reel is worth knowing, whether you like it or not, as it is played in many sessions.  It is a fairly simple tune, with lots of repeating phrases.  The third part is probably the trickiest of the three.  As such, the tune lends itself to variations, and there […]

Tar Road to Sligo (D)

This is tune #836 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903), #99 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907), and is also in Phil Rubenzer’s Midwestern Irish Session Tunes (2000).  It is another tune made popular by Michael Coleman in the early part of the 20th century and the Bothy Band in the latter part.  On their eponymous first album, The […]

Paddy Clancy’s (D)

Another tune with several disparate names.  This jig was recorded, to name a few, by Michael Coleman (1891-1945) in 1928 under this title, by John McKenna (1880-1947) in 1928 with the title “Clancy’s Dream,” by Bobby Casey in 1959 under this title, and by the Bothy Band in the 1970s under this title.  In fact, […]

Metal Man (D)

This interesting and engaging Waltz was composed by Robin Dransfield.  It is named after a 12 foot high, seven ton, iron lighthouse that in 1821 was placed off the coast of County Cork, Ireland, at Rosses Point in Sligo Harbor. This area is known for its treacherous waters, and in 1985 just north of Rosses […]

Wexford Carol

The idea of learning this traditional air was suggested by Alex Henry, probably back in late 2013!  Some times I’m faster than other times, apparently.  Also called the “Enniscorthy Carol” or just “The Enniscorthy,” it has been recorded by Loreena McKenitt, sung by Nanci Griffith on Chieftains Celebration (1989), and also sung by Alison Krauss […]

Hag’s Purse (Dmix)

This tune is just one of a fairly large number of tunes that have “hag” in the title — some of which are actually the same tune. There are the other jigs: “Hag in the Churn” (Dmix), “Hag in the Kiln” (Dmix), “Hag at the Church Door” (Dmix), “Hag with the Money” (Dmix),  “The Miller […]

Mills are Grinding (Ddor) 

The reel “The Mills are Grinding,” is also called “The Flowers of Limerick” and “Tuttle’s.”  It is one among a large family of similar tunes, in both Irish and Old-Time traditions, which is suitably played in various modes, and then given different titles: “The Bunch of Keys” (Gdor), “Telephone Reel” (Gaeol), “Paddy on the Turnpike” […]

The Tarbolton (Edor)

This two-part Scots reel is named after the Tarbolton Lodge, the Masonic Lodge in the village of Tarbolton, South Ayrshire, Scotland, near the River Ayr.  The name “Tarbolton” is from Tor-Bealtiunn in Gàidhlig, meaning “Hill of Beltane,” where Beltane is a Druidic festival held on April 30th or May 1st celebrating the midpoint between the spring […]

Castle Kelly (Aaeol)

It’s unclear to which castle the title of this reel refers.  Some say it refers to the Castle Kelly in county Galway where Carolan (1670-1738) composed his air “Mabel Kelly.” However, there’s no reason I’ve yet uncovered for thinking this to be the reference as opposed to any other Castle Kelly, and there are many […]

Give Us a Drink of Water (G)

There are, in fact, two different slip jigs that go by the title “Give Us a Drink of Water.”  Both are in G, and both are two-part tunes.  The first is #1530 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903), #1131 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907), and #420 in David J. Taylor’s Music for Sets: the Blue Book (1995).  The […]