Bottle of Punch (The)

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BOTTLE OF PUNCH. AKA and see "Bobbing for Eels," "Bowl of Punch (1) (The)," "Butchers of Bristol (1) (The)", "Dairymaid (6) (The)," "Fishing for Eels," "Glens of Mayo (The)," "Groom," "Humors of Miltown (2) (The)," "Ioc an Reicneail," "Jackson's Bottle/Jug of Punch/Brandy," "Jug of Punch (5)," "Old Man's Jig (The)," "Pay the Reckoning." Irish, Scottish; Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Gow): AABB (Aird, Kerr). The word 'punch' derives from a Hindi word, panch, meaning 'five', because of its five ingredients: spirits, water, lemon-juice, sugar and spices. The word was first recorded in English in 1669. It was a favorite convivial libation of the hard-drinking 18th century. One period anecdote goes:

A well-known person, named Led---ge, who lived at Bluebell, having met a favourite boon companion, was induced by him to partake of some refreshment at an inn, where he speedily consumed 16 tumblers of punch. He was rising to leave, when the friend suggested that he should "make up the twenty." "The parish priest is to dine with me," replied Led---ge, "and I should not wish him to see the sign of liquor on me."

Gow (1792) lists the tune as "Irish." In the Goodman manuscripts (vol. IV, p. 11) "Bottle of Punch" is attributed to the 18th century gentleman piper Walker 'Piper' Jackson, of the townland of Lisdaun, parish of Ballingarry, Aughrim, County Limerick. Breathnach (1996) finds the tune in O'Neill's Dance Music of Ireland (1907) under the titles "Jackson's Bottle of Brandy," "Bobbing for Eels," "Fishing for Eels," and "Jackson's Jug of Punch." As "Bowl of Punch (The)" it appears in the John O'Daly manuscript in the National Library in Dublin, and as "Bottle of Claret (The)" it can be found in Samuel Holden's Collection of Old-Established Irish Slow and Quick Tunes (1806-1807). O'Farrell, in his Pocket Companion for the Irish or Union Pipes (vol. 1, p. 17) gives it as "Pay the Reckoning." In addition, says Breathnach, Kerry titles employed for the melody have been "Old Man's Jig (The)" and "Fading Rose (The)," while flute player Michael Tubridy of Clare and Dublin calls it "Glens of Mayo (The)." Joyce's (1909) "Humors of Ballinaraheen (The)" and "Humors of Winnington" share the 'B' part with "Bottle of Punch." Finally, Breathnach finds that O'Neill prints a tune called "Dunmanway Lasses" (DMI, 194) with a related first strain.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Sixth and Last Volume of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs), 1803; No. 136, p. 54. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 322. Gow (Third Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1792; p. 22 (3rd ed.). P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 293, p. 146. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 23, p. 38. Levey (First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland), 1858; No. 23, p. 10.

Recorded sources:




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