Plains of Boyle (The)
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PLAINS OF BOYLE, THE (“Magh Luirg” or “Má Luirc”). Irish, Hornpipe. D Major (Harker/Rafferty, McDermott, Mitchell, Moylan, Mulvihill, O’Malley, Vallely): D Major/Mixolydian (Breathnach, DeMarco & Krassen). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Mitchell): AABB (most versions): AA’BB’ (Harker/Rafferty, Moylan, O’Malley). A very popular Irish session hornpipe. To the east of Boyle, County Roscommon, are rich flat limestone grasslands, known as the Plains of Boyle, famed for cattle pastures. It was the mensal lands of the MacDermots, Princes of Moylurg.
The hornpipe was recorded in New York in the 78 RPM era in 1924 by Gowlan, Killarga, County Leitrim flute and uilleann piper Michael Gallagher (1887–late 1950's) and again that same year by the duet of accordion player P.J. Conlon with flute player Tom Morrison. It was also recorded twice in 1929, both times for Columbia Records: by fiddler and accordion player Frank Quinn (1893–1964), originally from Greagh, Drumlish, Co. Longford, and by fiddler James Morrison (1891–1947), originally from County Sligo. Flute player Gallagher recorded the tune on the uilleann pipes, which he had picked up rather quickly after emigrating to America (according to the repeated story), inspired by Irish-American piper and stage performer Patsy Tuohey. Gallagher referred to his pairing of "Plains of Boyle" with the second tune in the medley, "Leitrim Fancy," as 'Moran's Hornpipe', a reference to his source, an unknown musician. Francis O'Neill, in his Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922), described Gallagher as "a clever performer on the Irish or union pipes, recently from Ireland."