County Tyrone (The)

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COUNTY TYRONE, THE (Contae Thir Eoghain). Irish, Air (3/4 time). A Mixolydian (O'Sullivan/Bunting): C Mixolydian (Bunting, Haverty). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Bunting): AB (Haverty).

From a daguerreotype of Bunting in his late 60's, printed in Charlotte Milligan Fox's Annals of the Irish Harpers (London, 1911).

Source for notated version: The Irish collector Edward Bunting [1] (1773-1843) obtained the tune from J. McCracken, Esq., Belfast, in 1810. Bunting's realtionship the the McCraken family put him in proximity to the tumultuous politics of the day. Captain John McCracken was a shipowener, rope and cloth manufacturer in Belfast in the 18th century who married Ann Joy, daughter of Francis Joy, another prominent industrialist of the city.

Henry Joy McCracken

Their son, Henry Joy McCracken [2] (1767-1798), and daughter, Mary Ann McCraken [3], were both political activists and social reformers, both of whom had an abiding interest in the traditional culture of Ireland. The McCracken family helped to organize the Belfast Harp Festival in 1792, gathering all the harpers they could contact and who would journey to the event. They secured the services of a young Belfast classically trained musician, Edward Bunting (then aged 19) to transcribe and thus preserve the music heard. Henry later became a leader of the United Irishman, took part in the Rising of 1798, and, after the collapse of the rebellion, was tried and hanged in the city. Mary Ann McCracken continued to be a lifelong friend and adviser to Bunting, who stayed on at the McCraken household for thirty-five years, before he moved to Dublin.

Mary Ann McCraken, c. 1860, when she was about 90.

She continued to be politically active in a number of social causes until her death in 1866 (at age 96), and could be found at age 88 on the Belfast docks handing out anti-slavery pamphlets to passengers on ships bound for America.



Printed sources: Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840; No. 128, p. 97. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 269, p. 134. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 128, pp. 186-187.

Recorded sources:




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