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Category Archives: Polka

Humours of Bahrain (G)

This is a polka written by the prolific tune-composer and accordion player Paddy O’Brien (1922-1991) of Nenagh, co. Tipperary (pictured right).  The name is common enough, and so don’t confuse our man here with others, such as the other Paddy O’Brien (b. 1945) from Castlebarnagh, co. Offaly, who also plays a two-row button accordion. The […]

Shoe the Donkey (G)

This polka is played in G and in D, and is known by lots of different names.  Here are some of them: Andy Boyle’s, Ballydesmond, Cathy’s Favourite, Dan Macks, The Dargin, The Evening, Glenside #1, The Hen Dance, Kerry Polka #1, Kevin’s Polka, The Mist On The Glen, Pat Horgan’s #1, Shoe the Donkey, The […]

Sweeney’s Polka (G)

      Sweeney’s Polka, med tempo (Fiddle, Glen Pekin)

Cúil Aodha (A)

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 […]

The £42 Cheque (D)

This tune title, “The £42 Cheque,” was used by Planxty on their LP Cold Blow and A Rainy Night (1974), but it has also been called “the four pound check,” and “the fourty-five pound check.”  Though some people argue that it’s an old piece, and the different amounts given to the check are the result […]

Din Tarrant’s (D)

“Din Tarrant’s” polka is sometimes called “I Have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue.” Whatever the name, this polka is from the Sliabh Luachra region (on the Cork-Kerry border). Din Tarrant was a Sliabh Luachra fiddler, and an exponent of the “house party” style of fiddling (less ornamentation in the left-hand, less slurring with the bow) […]

Riding on a Donkey (G) 

This simple polka, “Riding on a Donkey” or “Donkey Riding,” is a good for beginning players, and for set dancing.  It is #1000 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907), and called there “The High Caul Cap.” Though the setting here is in G, you will also find it played in A and D, as well as in […]

Maids of Ardagh (D/A)

The “Maids of Ardagh” is a very happy little Sliabh Luachra polka, though some may think it quite twee.  The first part is in D, the second part in A.  In the last measure, the second time through, just remember that any “d” will do.  It is often associated with the Sliabh Luachra button accordion […]

Ger the Rigger (A)

This polka, “Ger the Rigger,” also known as “Jer The Rigger,” will have a soft “g” rather than a hard one.  It seems to be named for “Gerald,” “Gerry,” “Jerry,” or “Jeremiah” who was, we can assume, some sort of rigger of renown – that is, one who engages in cable hoisting on land or on […]

Egan’s Polka (D)

“Egan’s Polka”  is another great tune for teaching polkas – though I have read that players in Glasgow sessions won’t play it.  It is a Kerry polka, and also goes by the name “The Kerry Polka” — as do a number of different Kerry polkas.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is even more confusion about the name […]