Bobbing for Eels

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BOBBING FOR EELS. AKA and see "Bottle of Claret (The)," "Bottle of Punch (The)," "Bowl of Punch (The)," "Butchers of Bristol (1) (The)," "Dairymaid (6) (The)," "Fishing for Eels," "Glens of Mayo (The)," "Groom," "Highway to Dublin (2)," "Humours of Milltown (2) (The)," "Ioc an Reicneail," "Jackson's Bottle of Brandy," "Jackson's Jug of Punch," "Jackson's Jug of Brandy," "Jug of Punch (5) (The)," "Old Man's Jig (The)," "Pay the Reckoning." Irish, Jig (6/8 time). A Major (Cole, Ryan): G Major (Miller). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Credited, impropbably, to one C. Knowlton in Ryan's Mammoth Collection, although the tune can be found in older collections under the "Bobbing for Eels" and some alternate titles. London music publisher John Gow (of the famous Scottish fiddle-composing family) printed a version as "Highway to Dublin (2)" in his c. 1804 collection.

Regarding the title, Olive Sharkey, in her book Old Days Old Ways (O'Brien Press, 1985, p. 170), mentions fishing in Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and explains:

Eels were caught illegally with longlines, but a more usual practice was to bait them with balls of worms, a practice called 'bobbing'.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 76. Miller (Fiddler's Throne), 2004; No. 10, p. 19. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 107.

Recorded sources:

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