1. Slides: The Scartaglen / Trasna na dTonnta
The first tune appeared on The Star above the Garter an album by fiddlers Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford in 1969. The slide which follows is a jig version of the popular Irish song “Trasna na dTonnta” which shares similarities with the jig “Westering Home”.
2. Reels: Richard Dwyer’s / The Hunter’s House
The first reel is a composition of Richard Dwyer which featured on his album In a Creative Mood (2002). The tune that follows is a Finbarr Dwyer-inspired version of a popular tune composed by Cavan fiddler Ed Reavy.
3. Song: An tSeanbhean Bhocht
References to popular hopes of French military support during the 1798 rebellion period in Ireland abound in this song, whose title utilises a poetic name often used to depict Ireland. Séamus learned this song at school from his teacher Caoimhín Ó Cinnéide.
4. Jigs: The Boys of Tandragee / The Eavesdropper / Finbarr Dwyer’s
The selection begins with a jig version of a similarly titled popular song. The tune appeared in the 1912-published Volume 1 of The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music under the title “Paddy Mc Fadden”. The second jig can be traced back to the 1903 publication of O’Neill’s Music of Ireland and in common with this entire selection, was sourced by Séamus from Finbarr Dwyer. The final tune was titled “Finbarr Dwyer’s” in the absence of any additional title information.
5. Song: Bánchnoic Éireann Ó
A song in praise of Ireland which was popularised by a 1971 recording by Skara Brae. The words to the song were written by Donncha Rua Mac Conamara (1715-1810), a Clare-born poet, with the air making an appearance in William Shield’s 1783 opera The Poor Soldier.
6. Reels: King of the Clans / The Woman of the House
The first tune appeared in the 1907 The Dance Music of Ireland - 1001 Gems and featured on the 1977 It’s a Hard Road to Travel recording by fiddler Andy McGann. The second reel is most famously associated with Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman who recorded it in New York during 1927.
7. Song: Eibhlín a Rún
A romantic song composed by harper and poet Cearbhaill Ó Dállaigh for Ellen Kavanagh. During her wedding to another man more favoured by her Wexford family, Ó Dállaigh performed the song for her, arising from which he persuaded her to elope with him. The Dublin Penny Journal of 1832 suggests that the song provided the first known source of the phrase “Céad Mille Fáilte” – “A hundred thousand welcomes.”
8. Jigs: Currants for Cakes and Raisins for Everything / My Wife’s a Wanton
The first jig was composed by accordionist/guitarist Ann Conroy-Burke who played for a time with the band Oisín, and now plays regularly with husband Joe Burke. Séamus learned the closing jig from Finbarr Dwyer, a tune of Scottish origin which appeared in the 1880-published Kerr’s Second Collection of Merry Melodies for the Violin.
9. Reels: Over the Moor to Peggy / The Dogs Among the Bushes
Associated with Sligo/New York fiddler, James “Lad” O’Beirne, the first reel is also known as “The Monasteraden Fancy”, in reference to a townland in South Sligo. The second reel was recorded in 1938 by Dublin fiddler Frank O’Higgins.
10. Song: Banks of the Bann
This song, which shares a similar melody to the hymn “Be Thou My Vision”, was recorded by The Voice Squad on their 1987 release Many’s the Foolish Youth. The Voice Squad sourced the song from Jim and Liz McArdle of Drogheda, whom they credit with re-invigorating the version contained in the Sam Henry collection.
11. Hornpipes: West the Hill / The Druid’s Field
Sourced from Finbarr Dwyer’s 1970 album Irish Traditional Accordionist, this selection begins with a hornpipe otherwise generally known as “The Chancellor”. The tune which follows is usually referred to as “Kit O’Mahoney’s”, who was mother of the influential Captain Francis O’Neill.
12. Polkas: Connie Fleming’s / The Ballinahulla
The first polka was recorded in 1995 by legendary Sliabh Luachra accordionist Johnny O’Leary. The closing tune features on Denis Doody’s 1978 album release Kerry Music, named after the townland where he was born near Ballydesmond.
Aíonna Speisialta / Special Guests
Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich (Track 3, 5, 7) – vocals
Innealtóir Fuaime / Sound Engineer:
Innealtóir Máistrithe / Mastering Engineer:
Dearadh / Design:
Robert Hakalski www.vmdigital.com
Grianghrafadóireacht Clúdach / Cover Photography: Richard Walker, Vecta Photo
Buíochas le / Thanks to: Donogh Hennessy, Finbarr Dwyer, Mary & Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich, Níall & Eoin Ó Beaglaoich, Síona & Larry Myres (for their home-from-home hospitality in Bobby Van’s!), Nicky McAuliffe,
Begley is the quintessential Irish musician known for his sharp wit and famous for pumping out tune after tune at all night sessions with an unstoppably energy. Fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, founder of noted group Téada, has been described by The Irish Echo's Earle Hitchner as "one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today".
Having toured together frequently in the US during the past two years, Begley and Mac Diarmada have now teamed up in an exciting and intimate new combination, exploring tunes and songs from West Kerry to Sligo and beyond.