Kinnegad Slashers (The)
X:2 T:Kinnegad Slashers, The M:6/8 L:1/8 S:O'Farrell's Pocket Companion 1804-10 Z:Paul Kinder R:Jig K:D B/2c/2|d>ed dAF|A>BA ABc|d>ed dAF|Eee e2 f| d>ed dAF|ABA A2 g|f>ef dBA|Bdd d2:| |:A|dfa afd|cde ecA|dfa afd|faa a2 A| dfa afd|cde eag|fef dBA|Bdd d2:||
KINNEGAD SLASHERS, THE (Buailteoiride Ceann-Na-N-Gad). AKA and see "Drunken Mason," "Land of Sweet Erin," "Leitrim Slashers (The)," "Molly Maloney," "O! An Irishman's Heart," "O! Merry am I," "Old Brags (The)," "Paddy Digging for 'Goold'," "Powers of Whiskey," "Slashers," "Twin Sisters." Irish, Double Jig or March (6/8 time). D Major (most versions): C Major (Hall, Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Howe, O'Farrell): AABC (Sweet): AABBCC (Kerr, O'Neill): ABCD (Hall). The tune was first published in the third volume of O'Farrell's Pocket Companion (London, c. 1808). The first appearance in print in America was in John Paff's Gentleman's Amusement No. 2 (New York, c. 1812), as "Kinneygad Slashers." O'Neill, in Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922), proposed this tune as the antecedent of "Turkey in the Straw." There is some resemblance in the first part, but in general the relationship is seen by most as incidental and not relational, and there are better claims for the derivation of "Turkey in the Straw." O'Neill says the tune can be played either as a jig or a march. The tune was popular during the 78 RPM era and was frequently recorded.
Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin proposes that this tune was originally dedicated to the Kinnegad, Westmeath, hurling team (hurling being played with ash sticks in a decidedly rough-and-tumble encounter!). However, the title may actually honor an Irish yeomanry unit called the Kinnegad Cavalry, who, on July 11th, 1798, found themselves in defence of Clonard against the rebels. The attack of the United Irishmen was repulsed and the attackers dispersed, whereupon the cavalry of the Kinnegad Yeomen pursued them with much slaughter. Their success in this engagement earned them the sobriquet of Kinnegad Slashers. The Journal for Army Historical Research, Vol. IV, gives that "a lively melody, still popular in Ireland, was named The Kinnegad Slashers in complimentary commemoration of the achievements of that corps at Clonard." The tune has been the regimental slow march of the Gloucestershire Regiment, the 'Glosters', who inherited the nickname of the Old Brags from the 28th Regiment of Foot. Gloucestershire fiddler Stephen Baldwin (1873-1955), a veteran of the regiment, had this tune in his repertoire under the title "Old Brags (The)." Some see resemblances to the Scottish tune usually known as "Kenmure's On an' Awa Willie," (Kenmure's Up and Awa') after a Jacobite song of that name, but the relationship seems more distant than with other more closely related tunes. Others claim to see resemblance in the Scottish "Bannocks o' Barley Meal (1)." A rondo on "The Kinnegad Slashers" was composed by Peter K. Moran and published in Dublin by W. Power, about the year 1817.
Ayrshire fiddler-composer John Hall included the jig in his c. 1818 volume A Selection of Strathspeys Reels, Waltzes & Irish Jigs wherein he ascribes the tune to Irish uilleann piper and composer Walker Jackson. However, he is the only one found so far to make that attribution.
The air was recorded in several music manuscript copybooks of 19th century musicians. It can be found under the title "Drunken Mason" in 'The Buttery Manuscript (c. 1784-1820, No. 951), a large copybook by John Buttery (1784-1854), who joined the 34th Regiment in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, in 1797 and served as a fifer until discharged in 1814. A version was entered into American musician M.E. Eames's music manuscript book (Philadelphia?, 1859, p. 73) as "Irish Air." The melody can also be found in the music manuscript collection of musician John Burk, dated 1821, in the key of 'C' under the title "Irishman in London (The)," with the note that it is a 'Song'. Eames's song air takes its name from a farce by English dramatist William Macready (1755-1829), called The Irishman in London; or, the Happy African (1793), although there was no music in the play. Yorkshire fiddler Lawrence Leadley's "Molly Maloney" is almost note for not the same tune as 'Kinnegad'. Multi-instrumentalist John Rook, of Waverton, Cumbria, entered the tune into his 1840 music manuscript collection as "Kinny Gad." Uilleann piper and Church of Ireland cleric James Goodman also inked a transcription of the tune into his mid-19th century music manuscript  (p. 113), as did County Leitrim piper and fiddler Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) in his c. 1883 music manusxript collection (Book 3, as an untitled tune).