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The Kaiser (D)

“The Kaiser” slide is called “Going to the Well for Water” on Jackie Daly’s Music from Sliabh Luachra (1977), and John Doody’s Kerry Music (1978), called “Going for Water” on John & Julia Clifford’s Humours of Lisheen (1977), and on the compilation CD Round the House and Mind the Dresser (2001) it’s played by Julia Clifford and titled “untitled.” The latter, by the way, is a good compilation of republished recordings from 1925 to 1977 of various players.  In Pádraig Carrol’s tune book The Irish Mandolin (Mel Bay, 1997) this tune is called “The Kaiser.” It’s an easily recognizable tune, no matter what it’s called. A rather far-flung variation of this slide is called “Scattery Island.” Though it’s fairly distant, it’s not coincidental. The tune was carried from Sliabh Luachra to Scattery Island, which is in co. Clare, but in the Shannon estuary between Clare and Kerry.  The name of the island comes from Inis Cathaigh (St. Cathigh’s Island) – there was once a monastery there and then later some inhabitants.  In the 1950’s the island was abandoned, everyone moving to Kilrush.  It remains uninhabited, but has retained a large bird population.  John Kelly, from the Sliabh Luachra region, was interviewed in the late 1970s and explained the connection between co. Kerry and Scattery Island.  His grandmother, Mary Brennan, was born on Scattery Island and told him that when she was a girl “boatloads of people from Kerry would put in to the island almost every Sunday in summer.  Then there was a dance in the lighthouse.  In this way the Scattery people picked up the Kerry music.” As a result, the style of playing on the island was more Kerry-style than Clare-style.  And many of the tunes played by islanders were unknown in Clare, even by the well-seasoned players, such as the co. Clare uilleann piper Willie Clancy.


D         / G         / A         / G   A     / D       😐

D   A   / Bm      / A        / G    D    / A    D  😐


The Kaiser,


The Kaiser,



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