Black Fanad Mare (The)

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BLACK FANAD MARE, THE. AKA and see "Kiltyfanad Reel (The)," "Nine Points of Roguery (The)." Irish, Reel. Ireland, County Donegal. The name "Black Fanad Mare" is the Donegal name for the tune usually known as "The Nine Points of Roguery." Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) explains the title comes from a supernatural vision of a druid of old to the famous Fiddler Doyle of Fanad. Another Donegal fiddler, John Doherty, told a tale about the origins of the tune. It seems that Fiddler Doyle was returning home on horseback after playing at a dance party when he came to a crossroads, a place where visions had lately appeared of an old druid. As they approached the crossroads the horse, seeing the apparition when the man didn't, shied away, and Fiddler Boyle, unaware of what might be wrong, had to exert mastery of the animal to get it to approach the road again. As horse and rider arrived at the intersection once again the vision reappeared, and this time the horse halted and threw back its head. Boyle managed to stay on the mount, but the horse's gaze was fixed to the side, and he finally broke into a gallop. The vision stayed at the horse’s side and Boyle finally saw what it was. Though frightened, the fiddler and his mount finally made it home. After retreating to bed and sleep, the next morning Boyle was inspired by the rhythm of the horse's hooves on the road and heard a reel in his mind, which he called "The Black Mare of Fanad."

Source for notated version: John Doherty (c. 1895-1980, Donegal) [Feldman & O'Doherty].

Printed sources: Feldman & O'Doherty (The Northern Fiddler), 1979 (another version appears in the same volume under the title "The Kiltyfanad Reel of Francie Dearg and Mickey Ban O'Byrne").

Recorded sources:




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