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Category Archives: Reel

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Musical Priest (Bm)

The reel “Musical Priest” is “An Sagart Ceolmhar” in Irish, and also known as “The New Bridge of Edinburgh” as well as other names.  Like other tunes that come from the northern parts of Ireland it has that Scottish feel about it that makes some suspect that it’s imported from there. While it’s hard to […]

Exile of Erin (Dmix)

“Exile of Erin” was composed by banjoista Anthony “Sully” Sullivan, who plays the banjo with a “thimble” (actually, a piece of PVC pipe), and taught that trick to our own Dave Agee. Sully’s tunes have been recorded by Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Lúnasa, Michael McGoldrick, Danú, Liz Carrol, Natalie MacMaster, and many others. Though […]

John Kelly’s (Favorite) Reel

John Kelly (1912-1989) was a fiddle and concertina player from rural west County Clare.  Born in Rehy, Cross, Kilballyowen, West Clare, he was strongly influenced by the playing of his grandmother Elizabeth Kelly and the music of the island of Scattery near the mouth of the Shannon, where he first spent a week when he […]

Morning Dew (Edor)

This reel is called “Morning Dew” by Irish musicians, and often called “Hare Among The Heather” by non-Irish musicians.  It is a popular tune, and so there are many versions.  Though typically it is thought of as a three-part tune, there are variations that make it seem like a four-part tune.  It is played many […]

St. Anne’s Reel (D)

There’s much hear-say about this tune, and it goes like this: As for the name, there is a claim that the title is a reference to the miracle-worker St. Anne (whose name would have been Hannah), the mother of Mary, and so grandmother of Jesus. There’s also a claim that it’s named after a bay which was […]