Bog of Allen (2) (The)

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X:1 T:The Bog of Allen [2] M:2/2 L:1/8 C:Ed Reavy S:The Collected Compostions of Ed Reavy R:Reel N:Mentioned eloquently in Joyce's short story, N:"The Dead" (in Dubliners). This desolate region reminds us of Yeats' N:line "the drifting, indefinite bitterness of life" Ed has always felt N:that far too much is made of Ireland's greenery and not enough said N:of her terrible greyness. Ed has lived to see the whole of Ireland, N:and he has tried to get as much of it as he could into his own tunes. Z:Joseph Reavy K:G ||:dc|BG (3AGF G=FDE|=F2 AF ^FDCB,|DG (3AGF GABc|dgfa gfdc|BG (3GF G=F DE | [A,2=F2] AF ^FDCB,|DG (3AGF GABc |dgfd c2:| ||:Bc|dg (3gfg bgag|dggf dcBc| dg (3gfg ag (3gfg|defd c2 Bc| dg (3gfg bgag|dggf dcBA|GABc defa|gefd c2:||



BOG OF ALLEN [2], THE. Irish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning. AABB. Composed by the late Philadelphia, Pa./County Cavan fiddler Ed Reavy (1898-1988). This desolate region was mentioned in James Joyce's piece "The Dead," from The Dubliners. The Bog of Allen covers several hundred square miles in the central lowlands outside Dublin in the east almost to Galway in the west. It encompasses several peat bogs interspersed with patches of cultivable land, and peat is still harvested as a source of fuel. Two canals cross the region, the Grand and Royal.

Interviewed by musician and folklorist Mick Moloney in 1975, Reavy explained:

The Bog of Allen….that’s where the wild geese used to go you know at certain times of the year. I think it’s in the very cold weather they would rest there in the Bog of Allen…you know where that is of course. We used to watch the wild geese when we were lads going to school…you’d see the leader going in front of them and all the rest of the flock would follow him. It was really very amusing and very quaint you know…Ireland is a very quaint country…beautiful I mean and every county has got something different…but yet it all dovetails together. You go to Clare and you will find wonderful people there and you’ll find the warmth of the people and the great music and the quietness of the country surroundings. Now down around Lisdoonvarna you’ll find a lot of things… stone ditches you know…and you don’t find them, only in Clare and in the Western part of Ireland, like Mayo. Now up in the North we don’t have them, we have more hedges, very few stone ditches. It brings me back to me the flight of the wild geese going to the Bog of Allen and there’s a certain quaintness about it…a certain feeling you get about those things. [1]



Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Reavy (The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy), No. 4, p. 4.

Recorded sources: -



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  1. Mick Moloney, “Medicine for Life: A study of a Folk Composer and His Music”, ’’’Keystone folklore: The Journal of the Pennsylvania Folklore Society’’’, vol. 20, Winter-Spring 1975, No. 1, p. 25.