Gallaher's Lament

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GALLAHER'S LAMENT. AKA and see "Frieze Breeches (1)," "Gallagher's Frolic (2)," "Soggarth Shamus O'Finn." Irish, Slow Air (6/8 time). D Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABCDE. A variation of the lament is printed in Petrie as "Soggarth Shamus O'Finn" (No. 1024), and it appears (albeit speeded up) twice in Joyce's Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) under the title "Gallaher's Frolic." Breathnach (1996) identifies it as the well-known double jig "Frieze Breeches (1)."

Source for notated version: blind fiddler Michael Daffy (Co. Clare) [Darley & McCall]. Daffy receives a brief sketch in Francis O'Neill's Irish Minstrels and Musicians (1913, pp. 402-403):

Much may be expected of Michael Daffy, the blind boy-fiddler from County Clare, to preserve and promote an interest in the traditional music of the "Green Isle." Though barely out of his teens, his fine performance and wealth of memorized native tunes have already won him enviable distinction.

His loss of sight, when but eight or nine years old, was by his friends attributed to supernatural agencies or rather to the malign influence of the fairies. While playing in the fields on their father's farm a few miles from Tulla, Michael and his twin brother Thomas had their eyes poisoned in some unaccountable way. The result was fatal to "Tommy," but Michael survived, though his eyes were entirely destroyed. Influential friends sent the dark boy to an institution for the blind at Dublin, where he received his musical education.

Daffy was also the source for the tunes "Molony's Reel," Gallagher's Lament," "O'Donnell's March," "White Flail (The)" and "Tullagh Reel (The)." in Darley & McCall's 1914 volume.

Printed sources: Darley & McCall (Feis Ceoil Collection of Irish Airs), 1913; No. 12, pp. 5-6.

Recorded sources:




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