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1. The Humours of Castlebernard / From Shore to Shore 2.58
A hornpipe from Francis O’Neill’s Music of Ireland and a reel from Ryan’s Mammoth Collection. O’Neill was from the parish of Caheragh in West Cork – where, incidentally, our father Seán also grew up – and many of his tune titles feature Cork placenames. The first tune celebrates the imposing Castlebernard (now ruined), situated in our home town of Bandon, Co. Cork.
2. Katherine O’More 2.35
Composed by Turlough O’Carolan (1670 – 1738) on the occasion of the marriage of Katherine O’More of Ballyna House, Co. Kildare, to Charles O’Donnell of Co. Mayo, a great-great-grandson of Niall Garbh O’Donnell. The latter, a cousin of Red Hugh O’Donnell, though promised the Earldom of Tyrconnell both by Elizabeth I and by James I, ended his days in the Tower of London. In the associated poem Charles is dubbed the Hawk of the Erne and of Ballyshannon, in tribute to his descent from Niall Garbh.
3. A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis 3.45
An allegorical political song (probably eighteenth century) in which Ireland is personified as a loyal brown cow, the finest of her kind. Mairéad learned this song from our mother, Úna.
4. Slip Silver / The Surround 2.32
The first of these slip-jigs (from a MS collection) is untitled, so we’ve called it “Slip Silver”. The second was collected by Canon James Goodman (1828–1896), piper, Church of Ireland clergyman and Professor of Irish at Trinity College, Dublin, who spent most of his life in West Cork.
5. Connamara 2.54
We’re very grateful to the Library of Queen’s University, Belfast for permission to record this wonderful tune from the unpublished MSS of Edward Bunting. The title retains Bunting’s spelling.
6. Fan mar a bhfuil tú, a chladhaire (“Stay where you are, you rogue”) / 4.36The House Keeper / Petticoat Loose
These jigs were collected by the great Canon James Goodman (1828–1896), piper, Church of Ireland Rector of Ardgroom, Beara, Co. Cork and later Canon of the Diocese of Ross in West Cork and Professor of Irish at Trinity College, Dublin.
7. Lament for General Monroe 3.40
Nollaig’s adaptation of a tune she found in an old family MS given to her many years ago by Ashley Wholihan, an accordeon player from Beara, Co. Cork.
8. The Men from Mallow / McCarthy’s Hornpipe 3.16
Both hornpipes are to be found in Francis O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems. Mairéad first heard McCarthy’s Hornpipe played by Michael Hourihan of Dunmanway.
9. The Bonnie Boy in Blue 3.30
Nollaig learned this song from our mother Úna, who is from Allihies, Beara, Co. Cork. She in turn learned it as a child from her mother Margaret Dwyer, who was from Scrahan, Urhan, Beara, Co. Cork.
10. Miss Fahey’s Fancy / I have no Money / Jerry Hayes 3.20
Three reels, again from Francis O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems.
11. Dark Lochnagar 3.20
This setting of the poem by Lord Byron (in praise of Lochnagar in his native Aberdeenshire) to a beautiful Irish air, was collected by Cecil Sharp from John Murphy, an Irishman resident in the Marylebone Workhouse, London, in 1908, and published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, Vol. 5, No. 18 (1914). P.W. Joyce (1827 – 1914) published a variant in his Old Irish Folk Music and Songs that was popular in his youth on the borders of counties Limerick and Cork. The song has dropped out of the current repertoire in Ireland and the tune is now best known in the instrumental version (in a markedly different mode) recorded by the eminent piper, Willie Clancy. In Scotland the poem is still sung, but to a completely different melody.
12. Harps in Bloom 2.26
Máire composed this tune in 2010 for the 25th anniversary of Cairde na Cruite’s Cúirt Chruitireachta (International Festival for Irish Harp), held annually in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.
13. The Mealagh Valley Polkas 2.51
The Mealagh Valley is near Bantry, Co. Cork. Mairéad learned these tunes from concertina-player Mary Tisdall from Bantry. They are played in a Sliabh Luachra style.
14. The Bandonbridge Suite:
a) Dreams of Castlemahon – composed by Máire 2.29
b) The Bandon River Flows – composed by Nollaig 2.31
c) The Earl of Cork’s Allemand – composed by Máire and Nollaig 1.37
d) The March from Irishtown – composed by Máire 2.07
e) The Bandonbridge Hornpipe – composed by Mairéad 1.43
f) The Gates are Open – composed by Nollaig 1.25
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