Barney is in Prison
X:1 T:Barney is in Prison M:6/8 L:1/8 S:Hugh O'Beirne, piper, 1846, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, via William Forde B:Joyce - Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909, No. 594) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Gmix GAc B2e|cAG G2E|GAc cde|gfe d2G|GAc cde| gfe dcd|eGG GAB|cdc GAc|"Cho:"d>ef/d/ edc|AGG G3||
BARNEY IS IN PRISON. Irish, Air (6/8 time). G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "There was a Ninety-eight song to this air," notes P.W. Joyce, who found the tune in the Forde Collection. The last two measures are the chorus.
- P.W. Joyce concluded that O'Beirne had been a fiddler in his Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909, p. 296). However, William Forde, the only collector who had direct contact with O'Beirne, wrote in a letter to John Windele of Cork, dated Sept. 21, 1846, that he had obtained over 150 airs from a piper, Huge Beirne. Forde was seeking to supplement his collection with music from Connaught and the north, and was glad to make the musician's acquaintance, staying on in Ballinamore longer than he originally planned. He also found O'Beirne in poor health in the time of Great Famine, writing "Stirabout and bad potatoes were working fatally on a sinking frame," and aided the piper by improving his diet ("but a mutton chop twice a day has changed Hugh's face wonderfully").