Shane O'Neill's March

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X:1 T:Shane O'Neill's March M:2/4 L:1/8 R:March K:G GA|B>c BA|B2 B/c/d|B>c BA|B2 AG|Bd g>e| dB GB|A>B AG|A2 GA|B>c BA|B2 B/c/d| B>c BA|B2 AG|Bd g>e|dB AG|B>A GF|G2:| |:ef|g2 f/g/f|e2 a>g|fe fd|B2 (3B/c/^c/|d2 d>e| dB AG|g2 g>a|g2 (3f/g/a/|e2 (3e/f/g/|d2 (3e/f/g/| dB AG|A2 Bd|ef ge|dB AB|G2 G>A|G2:|



SHANE O'NEILL'S MARCH (Triall Sean Uí Niall). Irish, March (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. While the title may refer to anyone with the relatively common Irish name, the historical Shane O’Neill (1530?-1567) was an Irish chieftain, the eldest son of Con O’Neill, the 1st Earl of Tyrone. Shane was passed over by his father in a political deal with the English Queen Elizabeth, in favor of an illegitimate brother, and this plunged Shane into a lifelong struggle of tribal warfare in Ulster and with the English. Shane eliminated his rivals one by one until Elizabeth finally agreed to his succession as chieftain of Tyrone. However, Shane soon was back to fighting, next with the MacDonnells, Scottish immigrants in County Antrim, and then with the English themselves. He was finally defeated by the O’Donnells at Letterkenny, and having little choice about where to turn he vainly sought refuge with his old enemies the MacDonnells. They murdered him. Not surprisingly, this march is a favourite of Ulster marching bands.

Paul de Grae [1] finds that the single-part air "Duain an TIncéara" (Tinker's Tune (The)) in the mid-19th century collections of County Cork uilleann piper Canon James Goodman, "is a skeletal variant of the first part" of "Shane O'Neill's March."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1806, p. 339.

Recorded sources: -Janet Harbison – “O’Neill’s Harper.”



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  1. Paul de Grae, "Notes to the O'Neill Collections", 2017 (indexed by tune title).