Humors of Ballymanus

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HUMORS OF BALLYMANUS (Sugra Baile-Meadonac). AKA and see "Berwick Jockey (1)," "Jig Polthogue," "Polthogue Jig," "Pilib McCue." Irish, Slip Jig. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Roche): AABBCC (O'Neill). The town of Ballymanus is in County Wicklow, and is the birthplace in 1775 of William Byrne, the famous 'Billy Byrne of Ballymanus', a leader of Wicklow men in Rebellion of 1798. Byrne was a member of one of the last great landed Catholic families in the region and a tall and powerful young man. During the lead-up to the rebellion he refused to take a Test Oath and was dismissed from the loyalist Wicklow Yeoman Cavalry. He subsequently threw in his lot with the rebels and fought at Arklow and Vinegar Hill, leading in battle what was called the Ballymanus Division. After the defeat of the United Irishmen Byrne went into hiding, but eventually was caught, tried and hung as a traitor.

The first strain of "Humors of Ballymanus" is the same as that of the Scots Borders tune "Berwick Jockey (1)," while the other parts, while not idetical, are similar in structure and could be considered variations. O'Farrell's setting was entered into the mid-19th century music manuscript copybook of County Cork uilleann piper and Church of Ireland cleric James Goodman [1].

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Hughes (Gems from the Emerald Isle), c. 1860's?; No. 14, p. 5. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 1), c. 1805; pp. 38-39. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 80. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1124, p. 212. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 417, p. 83. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 2), 1912; No. 256, p. 25.

Recorded sources:




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