Back to Ballinderry
BALLINDERRY (AND CRONÁN). Irish, Air (6/8 time). B Flat Major (O'Sullivan/Bunting): G Major (Heymann). Standard tuning. AB. A cronán is a chorus, the 'B' part of the melody. Ballinderry, O'Sullivan (1983) remarks, is located on the edge of a small lake close to Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Ireland, and Bunting states the words to the tune refer to locations within the region. The tune also appears in Clairseach na nGaedheal, part III, 1903. The air is really a simple folk air with a second part attached (which Bunting termed the cronan); this second part is somewhat curious and was explained by Professor Eugene O'Curry in 1862. Curry identified the crónán as "the low murmuring accompaniment or chorus, in which the crowd took part at the end of each verse," and that the sound was produced in the throat "like the purring of a cat" (quoted in Heymann, 1988). George Petrie, writing in Bunting's 1840 volume, states that the peasantry of Counties Down and Antrim sang "many rude and ludicrous verses" to the air, one of which goes:
Its purty to be in Ballinderry,
Its purty to be in Aghalee
Its purty to be in George's Island
Sitting under an Ivy tree
Source for notated version: air and words were noted by Belfast collector Edward Bunting  (1773–1843) from Dr. Crawford of Lisburn in 1808.
Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840; No. 56, p. 42.
Heymann (Secrets of the Gaelic Harp), 1988; pp. 75, 77 & 78.
O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 56, pp. 86–87.