Girls of Banbridge (The)

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GIRLS OF BAINBRIDGE/BANBRIDGE, THE (Cailinide/Cailini Ua Droiciod-Na-Banna). AKA and see "French Dance (1)," "Galbally Jig (The)," "Gwynt y Glan," "Plymouth Lasses," "Reel du berger," "Reel des paroissiens," "Sylph (The)." Irish, Double Jig (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. In Wales the tune is known as "Gwynt y Glan" (The White Wave). English versions date at least to the early 19th century, and probably to the late 18th century (see note for "Sylph (The)" for more). Banbridge is located in County Down about 15 miles south of Belfast. It is a market town on the upper Bann river and a gateway to the Mourne Mountains. Banbridge was once an important stop on the Dublin to Belfast stagecoach route, which led to an important feature of the town. A hill to the south of the Bann presented such a problem to the horsedrawn Royal Mail coaches that Banbridge was threatened with a bypass in favor of another route, a pending disaster for trade. In 1834 enterprising townspeople dug an underpass in the center of the wide main street, lowering the hill and splitting the street. At the same time, an overpass was constructed to allow traffic to move cross-wise. The underpass is still called 'The Cut', while the bridge above, named the Downshire Bridge, is known locally as The Jinglers Bridge. A statue has been erected in the town square to Captain Francis Crozier, a native son who died in the search for a North-West Passage.

The tune was recorded in the 78 RPM era by Sligo fiddler Paddy Killoran and His Pride of Erin Orchestra, and also by fiddler Michael Coleman on a recording for a private collector in 1940 (as "Girls of Bainbridge"). A version of the melody (with parts reversed) appears in vol. 4 of the mid-19th century music manuscript collection of Church of Ireland cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman as "<incipit title="load:french" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/French Dance (1)">French Dance (1)</incipit>." See also versions of "Girls of Banbridge" by Montreal fiddler Joseph Allard (1873-1947) released as "<incipit title="load:berger" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Reel du berger">Reel du berger</incipit>" (1929) and "Reel des paroissiens" (1936).

Additional notes

James O'Neill

Sources for notated versions: - fiddler Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ottawa Valley, Ontario) [Bégin]; "O'Neill" [O'Neill]. Chicago Police Sergeant and fiddler James O'Neill was originally from Banbridge, County Down, as Paul de Grae points out. He thinks it conceivable that it was (re)named by him, as the first appearance of the tune in Irish repertoire is in O'Neill's 1903 volume.

Printed sources : - Bégin (Fiddle Music from the Ottawa Valley), 1985; No. 70, p. 80 (appears as "The Girls of Baine Bridge"). O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 27. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 812, p. 151. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 83, p. 30.

Recorded sources: -Coleman Music Center CHC 009, fiddler Joe O'Dowd (1913-1987) - "The Coleman Archive, vol. 2: The Home Place" (2005. Various artists). Green Linnett SIF1035, Brian Conway & Tony De Marco - "The Apple in Winter" (1981. Learned from "a rare non-commercial" recording by Sligo/N.Y. fiddler Michael Coleman).

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear Michael Coleman's 1940 home recording at the Internet Archive [3]



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