Battle of Aughrim (1) (The)

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BATTLE OF AUGHRIM [1], THE (Cath Eachroma). AKA and see "Lament for the Battle of Aughrim," "Loch Torridon." Irish, March (2/4 time), Polka or Lament. E Aeolian (Brody): A Dorian (most versions). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Brody, O'Neill): AABB (Cowdery, Mallinson, Mitchell, Sullivan, Tubridy): AA'BB (Breathnach, Harker/Rafferty, Miller & Perron). The original piece by this title [see Walker's "Battle of Aughrim (2) (The)"] is descriptive of the last great defeat of the native Gaelic army in Ireland, on July 12th, 1691, following the defeat of the Stuart forces at the Battle of the Boyne. Aughrim is located near Ballinasloe, County Galway, about 30 miles from Galway city, and is a small village. Micho Russell (1989) related a bit of folklore which had the battle seeming to go one for days and days. There is a hollow or small valley on the road outside the village which Russell maintained was "filled up with blood from the people that were killed, and ever since then it is known as Bloody Valley." The victory of the Williamite forces over the Irish under St. Ruth and Sarsfield marked the end of the old Gaelic aristocracy and is commemorated in the present-day Orange celebration of July the 12th.

Cowdery (1990) finds the melody another expansion/contraction of the central musical motifs of the old ballad air "Boyne Water (1)." "Lament for the Battle of Aughrim" was printed in the appendix to Walker's Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards (1786). In 19th century Ireland the original piece [as printed by Walker--see "Battle of Aughrim (2) (The)"] was a piper's tour-de-force (along with a programmatic tune called "Fox Chase (The)"), and notable renditions were played by such famous musicians as County Galway's Martin O'Reilly. Regarding the polka tune with the Aughrim title, Breathnach (1985) says it was played for the last figure of the (County Clare polka) set.

The "Battle of Aughrim" was the signature tune for the famous Aughrim Slopes Ceilidhe Band, originally consisting of the trio of fiddlers Jack Mulkere and Paddy Kelly and accordion player Joe Mills, who first recorded around 1936 or 1937 (Reg Hall). The tune was taught to them by accordion player Jack Fahy (fiddler and composer Paddy Fahy's father), who hosted their thrice-weekly practice sessions (and in whose house Jack Mulkere lived). Jack's son Paddy and daughter Jennie joined the band in the 1940's.

The second strain was borrowed for the Québecois tune "En Fumant Ma Pipe."

Sources for notated versions: Chieftains (Ireland) [Brody]; a Clare version from flute and whistle player Micko Russell (Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland) [Breathnach]; piper Leo Rowsome [Cowdery]; piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell]; fiddler Mártíin Byrnes [Miller & Perron, Sullivan]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 118. Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 188, p. 64 (appears as "Cath Eachroma"). Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 37. Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland), 1974, vol. 2, No. 68. Cowdery (The Melodic Tradition of Ireland), 1990; Ex. 52, p. 121. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 275, pg. 87. Mallinson (100 Irish Polkas), 1997; No. 32, p. 13. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 1977; vol. 1, No. 65. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 149. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; no. 119, p. 98 (a march setting). Russell (The Piper's Chair), 1989; p. 20. Sullivan (Session Tunes), vol. 3; No. 37, p. 15. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 4.

Recorded sources: Claddagh CC 1, Leo Rowsome - "Ri na bPiobairi" (1969). Claddagh CC14, "Chieftains 4" (1974). Leader LEACD 2004, "Martin Byrnes" (1969). MKM 7590, Mike McHale - "The Schoolmaster's House" (2000. Learned from a recording by the Aughrom Slopes Ceili Band).

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]




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