Patrick's Pot

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PATRICK’S POT. AKA and see “Carrickfergus (3).” Irish, Jig. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. St. Patrick’s Pot was a never-emptying can; popularly, it was the ever-filled tumbler of spirits. The tune appears in P.M. Haverty’s One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 2 (New York, 1859). Cape Breton fiddle Donald MacLellan recorded the jig on 78 RPM disc as “Carrickfergus.”

The title refers to the legend associated with St. Patrick, that goes:

St. Patrick was served a measure of whiskey that was considerably less than full. St. Patrick took this as an opportunity to teach a lesson of generosity to the innkeeper. He told the innkeeper that in his cellar resided a monstrous devil who fed on the dishonesty of the innkeeper. In order to banish the devil, the man must change his ways. When St. Patrick returned to the hostelry some time later, he found the owner generously filling the patrons' glasses to overflowing. He returned to the cellar with the innkeeper and found the devil emaciated from the landlord's generosity, and promptly banished the demon, proclaiming thereafter everyone should have a drop of the "hard stuff" on his feast day.

Pota Pádraig or St. Patrick's Pot was the pint the was drunk in the pub after Mass on St. Patrick's Day. Although it has fallen into disuse, "Patrick's Pot" until quite recently was also applied to any treat given to friends, or gifts of money or sweets given to children.

The jig was also entered into the mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork uilleann piper and Church of Ireland cleric James Goodman [1].


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Burchenal (Rinnci na h-Éireann), 1925; p. 133. Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 151, p. 76. R.M. Levey (First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland), 1858; No. 80, p. 31.

Recorded sources:




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