Open main menu

Master McDermott's Reel

Back to Master McDermott's ReelEdit


MASTER McDERMOTT'S REEL (Ríl an Mháistir Mhic Dhiarmada). AKA and see "Barrel Rafferty's Reel," "McDermott's Reel (1)." Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Breathnach): AA'BB' (Feldman & O'Doherty). A reel with wide-spread popularity; it has been recorded by Cape Breton fiddlers numerous times. Jackie Small (notes CRÉ IV) maintains the tune was composed by Michael 'Master' McDermott in May, 1943. McDermott was a schoolteacher and fiddler from Carrickmore, southern County Tyrone, who died in 1947, and whose playing hey-day was in the 1920's and 1930's. Breathnach and Small print twelve tunes noted from McDermott's playing in Ceol Rince na hÉireann (1996). Belfast fiddler Seán Maguire claimed composition of "Master McDermott's," along with fiddler Liam Donnelly in his book Irish Tunes by the 100 (vol. 1, 1975), and the pair have often been credited with the reel. Maguire recorded the tune in the 1950's (as "McDermott's Reel"), playing tin whistle, and it has been a favorite with whistle players since then. Breathnach was of the opinion this tune was a version of "Boys of the Lough (The)." Some similarities with the tune "New Policeman (1) (The)" or "Belles of Tipperary (1)." "Give Us Another" and "Farewell to Erin (2)/Farewell to Eireann (2)," are related reels.

Source for notated version: Michael 'Master' McDermott via the collector Liam Donnelly (County Tyrone and Belfast) [Breathnach]; fiddler John McKeown [Feldman & O'Doherty].

Printed sources: Breathnach & Small (CRÉ IV), 1996; No. 119, p. 61. Feldman & O'Doherty (The Northern Fiddler), 1979; p. 242 (appears as last "Untitled Reel" on page). McGuire & Keegan (Irish Tunes by the 100), vol. 1, 1975; No. 45, p. 12. Vallely (Play Fifty Reels with the Armagh Pipers Club), 1982; 40.

Recorded sources: Gael-Linn CEFCD 151, Buttons and Bows – "Gracenotes" (appears as "McDermott's"). CAT-WMR004, Wendy MacIssac – "The 'Reel' Thing" (1994). Coleman Center CD CC004, Deirdre Collis & Maria Lynn McHugh – "The Mountain Road" (1999. Various artists. A compilation of tunes popular in South Sligo.) Outlet OAS 3030, Josephine Keegan (appears as "McDermott's). Philo 1051, Boys of the Lough (with Tommy & Brendon Gunn, fiddle) – "Good Friends, Good Music" (1977). SOLO 7012, Tommy Peoples – "A Traditional Experience with Tommy Peoples" (appears as "The New Policeman").

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]
Hear Sean Maguire's recording at the Comhaltas Archive [4]; hear also whistle player Eamonn McAuley's 1979 recording [5]
See/hear the tune played by Ryan G. Duns on youtube.com [6]




Back to Master McDermott's ReelEdit