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Behind The Tracks - Leitrim's Hidden Treasure

Introduction
This recording features over seventy minutes of traditional Irish music produced, arranged and performed by the McNamara family from Aughavas in the south of County Leitrim. This area of Ireland has long been recognised as having its own regional style of music. The region in question encompasses the parishes of Aughavas, Cloone, Gortletteragh, Drumreilly, Carrigallen, Fenagh, Mohill, Bornacoola and Ballinamore, the ancient Magh Rein. There is documented evidence both musical and historical to illustrate that a deeply rooted appreciation for Irish music has been nurtured in this area for centuries. This recording hopes to ensure that true appreciation of, and pride in, the music of South Leitrim will continue to be nurtured into the next century. Much has also been written by music collectors such as William Forde and Francis O'Neill on the sweet tonality of the South Leitrim style and, in addition, the rarity and variety of the repertoire associated with it. It is quite remarkable that such a small area managed to retain so much of its unique style in spite of the all-pervading influence of recordings emanating from the U.S. in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

The local repertoire includes a wide variety of different types of tunes. Numerous quite different rhythms are used and even the more common types have their own local model. For example, in the case of reels, four-bar parts predominate in contrast with the more usual eight-bar per part model. Country-wide, this is generally regarded as typical of older reels; the eight-bar type being used for more modern compositions. Leitrim's Hidden Treasure is a compilation produced with the aim of highlighting the rich musical heritage of South Leitrim. Extensive research in local manuscripts indicates that the music featured on this recording has very strong links with South Leitrim and nearly all the music is receiving its first recording. A number of the tunes can obviously be found in manuscripts elsewhere in Ireland and every effort has been made to cross reference the tunes by title and setting with better known and some not so well known collections. The results of this research has underlined the oldness of the tunes on this recording. Many of these tunes have, of course, survived through the aural tradition rather than coming from manuscript sources, and we credit those older musicians to whom we are indebted.

As with most regional styles, there is an interweaving of both the aural and written musical traditions, and this recording has its share of each. Many of the tunes featured on this recording were learnt by Michael from the playing of local musicians such as John Blessing, Thomas Canning, Pee Fitzpatrick, Jim Rawle, Bernie McKiernan a local fiddle master together with his son Jimmy McKiernan, and members of the renowned Reilly family from Drumreilly. These tunes, many of which, by their uniquely structured phrasing evoke the fife playing of former times, itself an important part of the local tradition, are now passed on to yet another generation, including Michael's own family. The remainder of the tunes on this recording predominantly come from written sources; the manuscripts of local musicians and collectors who transcribed the tunes played and taught locally. These tunes, for the most part, come from the recently re-discovered manuscript collections of Stephen Grier (from the late 1800s) and Alex Sutherland (from the early 1900s). These compilations further illustrate the musical wealth of the area, while at the same time provide an invaluable insight into the style and repertoire in the time before the tape recording era. The inclusion of some tunes with a strong Scottish flavour will not surprise anyone interested in the evolution of Irish traditional and folk music; the interchange of tunes between the Irish and Scottish is a phenomenon that has long been recognised. Given the prominence of the fiddle in the area, it was only natural that given time these tunes began to be absorbed gradually into the Irish idiom as happened conversely with Irish tunes in Scotland.

A particularly significant aspect of this recording is that it includes twenty tunes from the thousand or more contained in the Grier manuscript. Stephen Grier, a native of Abbeylara, Granard, Co. Longford, came to live at Bohey in Gortletteragh where he committed to write his entire collection in 1883, a copy of which can now be found in the Irish Traditional Music Archive. A number of tunes played by the Reilly family also appear in this manuscript. Sixty-four tunes from Grier's collection have recently been published in 'Ceol Rince na hEireann 4', the latest compilation of Brendan Breathnach's material, edited by Jackie Small. We are much indebted to Fr. John Quinn, P.P., Gortletteragh, for unearthing these tunes and also the tunes from the manuscripts of Alex Sutherland. Sutherland, a fiddle player and neighbour of his contemporary Terry Reilly, of the Reilly family mentioned before, collected many tunes during the first half of the twentieth century and we are indeed fortunate to have them. His foresight in sending a small portion of his collection to the Irish Folklore Commission, from whom Fr. Quinn received copies, saved them, at least, from the accidental destruction that befell the remainder of his massive collection.

The primary instruments heard on this recording are flute, fiddle, uilleann pipes and concertina. Reference has already been made to the flute and fife tradition in the area, a style of playing that has a significant brightness and definite phrasing pattern. It has often been referred to as a 'lifty' style consisting as it does of short phrasing. This style taught by Michael to his son Ciaran was learned from John Blessing whose own father, Michael, was taught by Joe Rourke of Drumreilly; five generations of music.
Fiddle playing was particularly strong in the area, stretching back at least six generations to the early years of the nineteenth century. The characteristic 'slur and cut' style of fiddling can be traced to Thomas Kiernan a fiddle master from Cartorn, Drumlish, a few miles away in Co. Longford. Kiernan taught widely and one of his most illustrious pupils may well have been Peter Kennedy from Ballinamore (born c. 1830). Kennedy in turn handed on this fiddle style to Terry Reilly and Alex Sutherland from Drumreilly and it was from Terry's son Michael that Fr. Quinn P.P. Gortlettragh learned the style. Fr. Quinn in turn has passed on this style to Enda, thus handing down a particular style through six traceable generations.
The piping tradition in South Leitrim stretches back even further. Augustus (Gusty) Nicolls (early 1800s) composer of the famous 'Gusty's Frolics', a 'gentleman piper' had his estate in the parish of Aughavas. A contemporary of Nicolls was piper Hugh O'Beirne, who was also said to be a fiddler by P.W. Joyce in his Old Irish Music and Song publication. James Quinn from Cloone better known as 'Old Man Quinn', learned his piping from Nicolls, and like his master passed on the same staccato style of piping to Aughavas musician Sergeant Early while the two were resident in Chicago. Early had already learned the flute and fiddle at home in Leitrim but in Chicago decided to learn this art of piping from Quinn. He was later to become one of Capt. F. O'Neill's closest friends and was entrusted with all his musical notes and recordings when tragedy struck the famous collector in Chicago. Both Brian and Ray's style of piping pay due respect to the very old staccato piping style so typical of Connaught. Stephen Grier whose manuscript we use so extensively was also a piper. His protégé William Mulvey and Mulvey's son Edward, together with Michael McGuinness of Bornacoola appear in a well-known photograph of a group of pipers at the 1912 Dublin Feis Cheoil reproduced in O'Neill's Irish Minstrels and Musicians. However, it would seem that this marked the end of a long piping tradition in the area until its revival by pipers such as Brian and Ray in the late 1970's. Though there is no tradition of concertina playing associated with the area it is evident from this recording that the instrument played here by Deirdre can be used to great effect to portray the South Leitrim Musical style.

We hope that the music of South Leitrim as featured on this recording will bring as much pleasure to other musicians and followers of Irish music as it has brought to us!

Dedication: To Mary, wife and mother whose unceasing support, guidance and encouragement have been instrumental in the passing-on of our musical tradition.


The Tunes

1. Reels: The Holly Bush / Leitrim's Greig's Pipes / The Cornhill / The Old Dudeen
Rileanna: An Crann Cuilinn / Pioba Ghreig Liathdroma / Cnoc an Arbhair / An Seanduidin.
(Trad. Arr. McNamara Family)

This first reel known locally as 'The Holly Bush' was learned by Michael from John Blessing. John had learned it from his father, who in turn learned it from Joe Rourke a flute player from the neighbouring parish of Drumreilly. This is a tune of many names, found in the Roche collection as 'The Stile of Ballylanders' and in the Kerr manuscript under the title 'The Highlander's Kneebuckle', a name preferred by the Reilly family of Drumreilly. There neighbour, Alex Sutherland however called this tune 'The Irish Man's Kneebuckle' in spite of his Scottish ancestry. It may also be found in Ryan's Mammoth collection as 'The Humours of Tufts Street', in O'Neill's Waifs & Strays as 'New Year's Night' and in O'Neill's 1850 collection as 'The Reel of Bogie'!
From a tune of many names to a name of many tunes! 'Leitrim's Greig's Pipes' is one of three versions of the same tune featured on this recording. We note that there are many more versions of this tune. The third part of this version corresponds to the first part of the version on track-13, the fourth corresponding to the second and so on in sequence. The tune became popularly known as 'The Leitrim Bucks' following Frankie Gavin's recording of it on his album Croch Suas E. It is noted that a number of tunes including 'The Bucks of Oranmore' and 'The Foxhunter' reel would appear to have evolved from the version of Greig's pipes featured on track-13 as has 'Leitrim's Greigs Pipes' which has much in common with the original setting.
'Leitrim's Greig's Pipes' and 'The Cornhill' were learned from the playing of Pee Fitzpatrick a fiddle player from Aughavas with whom Michael played much music and made a number of radio recordings. Pee always played these two tunes together in the manner that he had learned them from the playing of Terry Reilly, the well-known fiddle player from Drumreilly. 'The Cornhill' reel appears in the second Breathnach collection, which notes its source as Jimmy McKiernan of Aughavas, from whom Breathnach collected the tune in 1966. This tune is one of only two tunes from South Leitrim to feature in Breathnach's first three volumes, Ceol Rince na hEireann.
The Old Dudeen, as this fourth tune is known locally, has been played after the Cornhill reel for some time and provides for a bright finish to the selection. A different setting of this tune titled 'Poll an Mhadra Uisce' can be found in Breathnach's third volume. 'The Old Dudeen' was recorded by Paddy Killoran for RTE in 1949 along with another tune which also has strong Leitrim connections, 'The Cashmere Shawl'.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina), Frank (piano) and Mick (guitar).

2. Slip Jigs: The Barony Jig / The Leitrim Quickstep / Moll Roe
Poirt Luasctha: Port na Baruntachta / Mearcheim Liathdroma / Moll Rua
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

Each of these three tunes are taken from the Grier manuscript and are very characteristic of Leitrim music which included the prominence of slip jig playing. The slip jig rhythm with its triple time is very ancient in Irish dance music.
The first jig is a more developed version of 'The Barony Jig' which can be found in the Roche collection (1912). O' Neill's collection features a different tune by the same name.
The Leitrim Quickstep is one of our favourite slip jigs and has recently been published in Ceol Rince Na hEireann 4, taken from the Grier manuscript, where it is referred to as a 'Quickstep'.
The third tune here is Moll Roe, or to give it its full title, 'Moll Roe in the Morning'. According to Grattan Flood, words to this lovely pipe tune were written in 1725 in praise of Miss Moll Roe, daughter of Mr. Andrew Roe of Tipperary. The tune, played by a piper, later featured in Henry Brooke's 1748 musical comedy 'Jack the Giant Queller'. This tune is included in O'Farrells famous Pocket Companion to the Irish or Union Pipes and is later included in the collections of O'Neill. Ryan's Mammoth Collection includes two settings, one being a slight variant of the other.

Musicians: Brian (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina) and Mick (guitar).


3. Hornpipes: Old Man Quinn / The Shaskeen
Cornphiopai: An Sean Fhear O Coinn / An Seiscin
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

These hornpipes are also taken from the Grier collection. The first tune is untitled there and is a two-part setting notated in the key of F. A three-part setting of this tune can be found in O'Neills Four Hundred selections arranged for Piano and Violin in the key of G under the title 'Logier's'. This particular collection of O'Neill's included some tunes which hadn't been printed previously and this 'Logier's Hornpipe' is one of them. O'Neill referred to these tunes in this collection as "Most of them Rare; Many of them unpublished". On this recording, the tune is played in the key of D. A slightly different three-part setting of the same tune is included in O'Neill's 1850 collection under the title 'Old Man Quinn', received by O'Neill from the Aughavas piper Sergeant James Early. Early had learned it from his fellow piper and elderly relative from Cloone, James Quinn (b. 1805). Hence the name 'Old Man Quinn'
The Shaskeen hornpipe appears as a reel 'The Sheskan reel' in Grier's collection but plays better as a hornpipe. It is evidently the same basic tune as the more well known reel of the same name. There is another Shaskeen hornpipe in the local tradition, a different version again of the same tune which was a favourite of Michael Reilly from Drumreilly. O'Neill has 'The Shaskeen' as a hornpipe and as a reel. The title is thought to have come from the name of a river in neighbouring County Longford, a tributary of the Inny near Ballymahon.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina), Frank (piano) and Barry (hammer dulsimer).


4. Reels: Miss Dunbarr / Green Fields of America / The Reels of Tully / The Musical Priest
Rileanna: Ril Inion Dunbarr / Goirt Ghlasa Mheiricea / Ril Thuileachain / An Sagart Ceolmhar
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

These four reels were learned from the Grier manuscript. No further reference could be found to the first reel other than in the Grier manuscript. Grier called the second tune 'Green fields of America'. However this tune can be found in the Kerr, Levey and O'Neill collections under the title 'Miss Brady', and elsewhere in O'Neill's and in the Roche collection as 'Considine's Grove'.
If the old Greig's pipes (track-13) is the "daddy of them all", the even older two-part 'Reel of Tulloch', locally called 'The Reels of Tully' can be said to be the "Grandad" in that 'Greig's Pipes' seems to be a conflation of the 'Reel of Tulloch (Righle Thuileachain)' and another as yet unidentified tune. O'Neill included 'The Reel of Tulloch' in his Waifs and Strays in the 'Special Dances' section, taken from Neil Gow and Sons Complete Repository circa 1805.
The Musical Priest appears untitled in the Grier manuscript. It is also known locally as 'The New Bridge of Edinburgh'. The title 'Musical Priest' is that used by O'Neill in the 1001 collection, although his setting there is different from Grier's distinctive setting.

Musicians: Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina), Mick (guitar) and Frank (piano).


5 Air / Jig / Piece: Sile Ni Ghadhra
Fonn Mall / Port / Geanntrai: Sile Ni Ghadhra
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

Here we play three of the many settings of a very old Irish tune Sile Ni Ghadhra.
The setting of the air played here was that found in the 1914 publication by Darley & McCall. This publication included songs, airs and melodies as they had been performed at the annual Dublin Feis Cheoil over a period of 16 years. This less elaborate setting of the air which was obtained form Rev. Fr. Gaynor, C.M., Cork was claimed to be a one of the purest versions. Words had been written to this air by the poet Tadhg Gaedhladh O'Suilleabhain and appeared in the 1849 publication 'Poets and Poetry of Munster' where O'Suilleabhain used Sile Ni Ghadhra as a symbol of Ireland. This air was also one of many old Irish melodies resurrected during the Ballad Opera period of the Mid 1700s, (as was 'Moll Roe', cf. track-2), and it appeared in one of the earliest of Irish music publications when in 1745 Burke Thummoth's Twelve English and Twelve Irish Airs and Twelve Scotch and Twelve Irish Airs were printed.
The jig, also known as the 'Drunken Parson' is taken from Ryan's Mammoth collection and an identical setting is interestingly found in Riley's Flute Melodies a momentous American publication in 1814.
In the old manuscripts many jig tunes were given in two forms, firstly the "jigg way", namely the basic jig in its simplest form, and secondly the "piece way", a much more ornate setting (Brendan Breathnach, Ceol agus Rince na hEireann, p.13, An Gum, 1989). While the Grier manuscript doesn't have the "jigg way" of Sile Ni Ghadhra, it includes this impressive version of the "piece way", heard here at the end of the track.

Musicians:
Air: Brian (uilleann pipes);
Jig: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle) , Deirdre (concertina);
Piece: Brian (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle) , Deirdre (concertina), Michael (flute), Ray (tin whistle).


6. Jigs: Tandragee / The Mouse in the Cupboard / Larry the Beer Drinker
Poirt: Toin re Gaoith / An Luch san Almoir / Learai an tOltoir Beorach
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

These three jigs were learned from the playing of John Blessing.
The first jig 'Tandragee' is associated with the song 'The Rollicking Boys around Tandragee' the words of which are sung to the jig. The version played here differs from that commonly played.
The 'Mouse in the Cupboard' featured here differs from another jig of the same title. Another example of different tunes with the same name!
Larry the beer drinker can be traced back quite a distance in time and, may be found in the first ever collection of Irish music devoted specifically to dance music, i.e. Levey's collection (1855) as 'The Beer Drinker'. Goodman's 1866 collection also included it under the same title. A two part version 'Paddy Go Easy' can be found in O'Neills. This three-part tune has been recorded on the 'Lucky in Love' album by Charlie Lennon and Mick O'Connor.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina) and Barry (hammer dulsimer).


7. Air/Hornpipe/Reel: The Bold Soldier Boy / Logier's / Miss Gunning's Rant
Fonn Mall/Cornphiopa/Ril: An tEarcach misniuil / Cornphiopa Logier / Radaireacht Inion Ui Chonaing
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

This version of the 'Bould Soldier Boy' is taken from the music of Thomas Kiernan from Drumlish Co. Longford. It can also be found in the Grier manuscript as 'The Poor Soldier Boy' and in Kerr as 'The Bold Sojer Boy. This setting is also found in Goodman's collection while a variant can be found in O'Neill's 1850 collection.
Logier's hornpipe was learned from the music of the Reilly family of Drumreilly. The same tune is to be found in the Grier manuscript but untitled and now features in Ceol Rince Na hEireann 4. There is a two-part setting of this same tune in the Key of D in the Sutherland manuscript under the title 'The Old Irish', whereas the setting here has four parts and is in the key of A.
Miss Gunning's Rant comes from the Grier manuscript and variants of the reel can be found in both Ryan's Mammoth collection and Kerr's collection as 'Miss Gunning's Fancy', in Waifs and Strays by O'Neill as 'The Contradiction' and earlier in the Airds' collection (1782-1799) as 'Miss Gunning's Delight'. The Gunning sisters, Maria and Elizabeth hailed from Castle Coote, Co. Roscommon and were daughters of John and Bridget Gunning. Bridget Gunning was daughter of Theobald Burke the 6th Viscount Mayo. Having fallen on hard times, their fortunes recovered when the sisters married into the English and Scottish aristocracy, becoming respectively Lady Coventry and Duchess of Hamilton and Argyle. Miss Gunning's Rant was composed in honour of Elizabeth. The word 'rant' suggests a lively reel and is also used to describe lively strathespys in Scotland.

Musicians: Enda (fiddle) and Frank (Piano).


8. Reels: Michael Creamer's / The Humours of Tooma
Rileanna: Ril Mhichil Mhic Treinfhir / Plearaca Thuama
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

Both of these tunes were learned from the playing of John Blessing. The first reel bears the name of a character who lived locally during the early part of the century and who dedicatedly attended local house dances to play this, his favourite tune. The Humours of Tooma was a favourite of John Blessing and is named after a town-land in the parish of Aughavas. Prior to the 1970s when these tunes first featured on recordings, they were relatively unknown outside of South Leitrim.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina) and Frank (piano).


9. Hornpipe: Morgan's
Cornphiopa: Cornphiopa Ui Mhuireagain
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

This tune is played in the key of Eb with the parts played exactly as notated in the Grier manuscript. This tune will be recognisable by many as 'The Banks' which according to Scott Skinner was composed by the Italian Parazotti. The three-part version 'Souvenir De Venice' accredited to Ostinelli which can be found in Ryan's Mammoth collection, is once again a variant of the same tune. The Grier version played here has four parts, forming a distinctively well stuctured tune.

Musicians: Enda (fiddle) and Frank (Piano).


10. Reels: The Tramp's Reel / Cut the Sod
Rileanna: Ril an Bhacaigh Bhothair / Bain an Fod
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

Both of these reels were learned from the playing of the Fitzpatrick family. The first reel, The Tramp's Reel, was learned from Mick Fitzpatrick, a brother of Pee and a fiddle player also, who emigrated to the U.S.A. from Aughavas. Michael McNamara learned this from him while on a visit to New York in 1973.
The second tune 'Cut the Sod', was learned by Michael from Pee Fitzpatrick in the mid 1960s.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle) and Deirdre (concertina).


11. Jigs: The Unfortunate Rake / The Humours of Ballingarry
Poirt: An Reice Mi-amharach / Plearaca Bhaile an Gharrai
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

The 'Unfortunate Rake', also known as 'the Basket of Turf' and 'Bundle and Go' appears in many two and three-part versions. The five-part version played here is taken from the music of the Co. Westmeath piper Joe Kilmurray of Ballinacarrigy, who was renowned for his subtle variations.
The second tune was learned from the Grier manuscript where it is untitled. Its first part is similar to the 'The Humours of Ballingarry' in O'Neill's collection, and thus we use this name in the absence of another title.

Musicians: Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes duet).


12. Hornpipes: The Low level / Flood's
Cornphiopai: Cornphiopa an Iseal-leibheil / Cornphiopa Ui Mhaoltuile
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

The 'Low Level' hornpipe was learned from the playing of Pat and Michael Reilly. It can also be found in the Sutherland manuscript but in the key of A. This tune has already been recorded under the title 'The Leitrim Clog Dance' on The Missing Reel album by John Lee and Seamus Maguire.
Flood's hornpipe was learned from the music of Alex Sutherland. The order of the parts as played here are reversed with respect to their order in the manuscript.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray(uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina), Frank (piano) and Barry (hammer dulsimer).


13. Reels: Greig's Pipes / The London Lasses / The Nine Points of Knavery
Rileanna: Pioba Ghreig / Gearrchaili Londan / Naoi nArda na Cneamhaireachta
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

This version of Greig's pipes is the oldest of all the settings of 'Greig's Pipes' that we play on this recording. This tune was learned from the Sutherland manuscript, and from a recording of Frank Reilly, kindly given by Ian Lee of RTE to Fr. Quinn P.P. Gortletteragh. It is played with Scordatura tuning, re-tuning the fiddle in this instance EAEA. Greig's pipes with scordatura appeared in print as early as 1779 in Joshua Campbell's collection of Newest and Best Reels. Some twenty years later it was included in another Scottish collection, the famous Neil Gow's Complete Repository. In Ireland, the first issue of O'Farrell's Pocket Companion to the Irish of Union Pipes in 1804 had a setting, but in D and without scordatura. O'Farrell's setting was reprinted by O'Neill in his Waifs & Strays collection where he remarked that it was one of many of the rare tunes associated with Old Man Quinn, piper James Quinn of Cloone (cf. Track-3).
The 'London Lasses' is from the local Sutherland manuscript. It is also in Ryan's Mammoth collection under the same title. A different 'London Lasses' appears in O'Neill's and in Breathnach's collections.
The Nine Points of Knavery was written down by William Forde in 1845 from a Mr. James Blair from Co. Armagh who was at that time a stipendiary magistrate in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. Forde, a distinguished Cork musician, spent much time in South Leitrim collecting music. There he wrote down 180 tunes from the celebrated piper Hugh O'Beirne of Fenagh, one of which is the setting of the Humours of Glynn which is featured on the next track. It is noted that the only publication of Forde's work was the section included by P.W. Joyce in his 1909 collection.

Musicians: Enda (fiddle), Brian & Ray(uilleann pipes), Deirdre (concertina), Michael (flue) and Barry (hammer dulsimer).


14. Jigs: The Humours of Glynn / Grier's #249
Poirt: Plearaca an Ghleanna / Mac Grioghair # 249
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

As noted above, Forde got a two-part version of this first jig from Hugh O'Beirne. According to Edward Daly in his Poets and Poetry of Munster, the melody of the jig had been written by a Mr. Pierce Power (early 1700s), a celebrated Gentleman Piper from the village of Glynn, situated beside the river Suir between Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir. A two-part version of the tune is also to be found on the very first page of the first volume of O'Farrell's Pocket companion to the Irish or Union Pipes (1804). The same two-part tune is found in O'Neills as an air under the title 'Thomas Leixlip the Proud'. It also appears in Ryan's Mammoth collection. The setting played here is taken from the Grier manuscript but simplified for the purposes of group playing. A six-part version can be found in the Roche collection.
The second jig is again taken form the Grier collection where it appears untitled.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina), and Frank (piano).


15. Hornpipes: Grier's #16 / Chief O'Neill's visit
Cornphiopai: Mac Grioghair #16 / Cuairt Chaptaein Ui Neill
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

This first hornpipe is found in the Grier manuscript untitled.
'Chief O'Neill's Visit' is from the Sutherland collection where it is also called the 'The Old Cambridge Reel'. The same tune can be found in O'Neill 1850 with a simplified second part. Usually it is played in the key of A, however we play it in G for added resonance. Ryan's Mammoth collection features this tune as a reel under the title 'Pacific Slope', as does the Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory, a modern collection of North American fiddle music by R.P. Christeson who says that this reel is widely known in the Mid-West region of the U.S.A.

Musicians: Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina) and Mick (guitar).


16. Reels: O'Connell's Reel/ The Mountain Lark / The Cloone Reel / Bernie McKiernan's Dream
Rileanna: Ril Ui Chonaill / Fuiseog an tSleibhe / Ril Cluana / Taibhreamh Bhernie Mhic Thiarnain
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

This first reel was learned from John Blessing who had a very distinctive style of playing this tune. A version can also be found in the Grier Manuscript. Interestingly, it also appears in The Louth Archaeological journal of 1909, perhaps from a Leitrim source.
The 'Mountain Lark' was learned from the playing of the late Jim Rawle, another fiddle player from Aughavas. A variant can be found in O'Neill's 1001. O'Neill received this tune from a Leitrim fiddler, James Kennedy, son of Peter Kennedy, the famous fiddle teacher from Ballinamore. This was one of many tunes which O'Neill wrote down from James and his sister Ellen, both of whom emigrated to America. The 'Mountain Lark' appears as 'The Rakish Highlander' in Ryan's Mammoth collection.
The 'Cloone Reel' is another of John Blessing's and the final tune 'Bernie McKiernan's Dream' comes from Pee Fitzpatrick who having no title for the tune, named it after Bernie McKiernan (father of Jimmy) a local fiddle master and flute player in Aughavas who lived through the first half of the twentieth century.

Musicians: Michael & Ciaran (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle) and Deirdre (concertina).


17. Reels: Miss Simple's Reel / The Humours of Bolton Street / Bring her to the Shelter / Miss Gunning's
Rileanna: Ril Inion Simple / Plearaca Shraid Bolton / Tabhair Chuig an Scathlan I / Ril Inion Ui Chonaing
(Trad. Arr. McNamara family)

Again, all of these tunes are taken from the Grier collection. The first two tunes have been included in the recent Ceol & Rince na hEireann 4. No further references could be found for 'Bring her to the Shelter' outside the Grier collection. With regard to the final reel, 'Miss Gunning's' (see Track-7), a tune with a very similar first part is known by many names including 'The Baltimore', McCann's reel' and 'The Gasun that beat his father'; however Grier's 'Miss Gunnings' features a different and quite distinctive 'turn' to this tune.

Musicians: Michael (flute), Brian & Ray (uilleann pipes), Enda (fiddle), Deirdre (concertina), Frank (piano) and Mick (guitar).

 

 

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