Annotation:Sheela Ó Gara (1)

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X:1 T:Chiling O guiry T:Sheela O'Gara [1] M:3/4 L:1/8 B:Burk Thumoth - Twelve Scotch and Twelve Irish Airs with Variations B:Set for the German Flute Violin or Harpsichord (London, 1748, No. 16, pp. 32-33) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G G2B2B2|G2c2c2|G2B2B2|{d}Tc4d2|G2B2B2|c2A2d2| B2G2G2|G6:||:ef g2g2|Tg4a2|e2c2c2|{d}Tc6| fg a2a2|a4b2|f2d2d2|Td6|ef g2g2|Tg4a2| e2c2c2|Td4c2|B2G2G2|c2A2A2|B2G2G2|G6:| |:DG .B.GBG|DA.c.AcA|DGBGBG|Tc4d2|DG/A/ BGBG|cADA dA| B2G2G2|G6:||:efgggg|Tg4a2|e2c2c2|Tc6| fgaaaa|Ta4b2|f2d2d2|Td6|efgggg|Tg4a2| e2c2c2|d4c2|B2G2G2|c2A2A2|B2G2G2|G6:| DG B2B2|DA c2c2|DG B2B2|Tc4d2|DG B2B2|c2A2d2| B2G2G2|G6:||:D/E/F/G/A/B/c/d/e/f/g/a|Tg4a2|e2c2c2|Tc6| D/E/F/G/A/B/c/d/e/f/g|Ta4b2|fd(^cde)c|d6|D/E/F/G/A/B/c/d/e/f | Tg4a2|e2c2c2|Td4c2|BGDGBG|cAecBA|B2G2G2|G6:|

SHEELA O'GARA [1] ("Sighile/Síle Ní Ghadhra" or "Sigle Ní Gadra"). AKA – “Chiling O guiry,” “Sheila na Guira,” "Shee La Na Quira," "Sheela Nee Ghadra," "Sheelan Aguira," "Shilanagary." AKA and see "Down with ye Rumps," “Drunken Parson (The).” Irish, Air (3/4 time). G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. "Of this fine air there are two very distinct versions, of which one is represented in Moore's Irish Melodies, with the words 'Oh, had we some bright little isle of our own;' with sixteen bars in each Part. The version generally known in Cork and Limerick has twenty bars in the second Part; and in other respects it is considerably different from Moore's setting. The songs composed to sing to this whether Irish or English have always five lines in the second part of each verse to correspond with the twenty bars of the air (instead of four lines as in Moore's song). I find among the [John] Pigot MSS a setting of this version: but on the whole I prefer my own, which I give here, with one verse of the English song both from memory as I learned them in boyhood. 'Sheela Nee Guira' was one of the numerous allegorical names of Ireland; and this song was a patriotic one, though it could be sung with safety in the time of the Penal Laws, as it was in the guise of a love song. See 'The Blackbird'..." (P.W. Joyce). Darley & McCall also identify the song as symbolic of Ireland, and say the Irish lyric was written by Tadg O'Sullivan, to whom it is credited in O’Daly’s Poets and Poetry of Munster (1849). Kane O’Hara used the melody for his ballad opera Midas (1764). Other early sources in which the air appears are Burke Thumoth’s 12 Scottish and 12 Irish Airs collection of c. 1750 (or 1744, depending on the opinion--it appears as “Chiling O guiry”) and Walker’s Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards (1786). O’Farrell printed it with six sets of variations in his National Irish Music for the Union Pipes (1804) under the title “Sheeling O Guira"; County Leitrim piper and fiddler biography:Stephen Grier entered a similar setting with numerous variation sets in Book 3 of his large c. 1883 music manuscript collection. London publisher David Rutherford used a version of the melody for "Repley Delight, or Drunken Parson (The)]" in his Compleat Collection of Favorite Country Dances, vol. 1 (1756).

It is still very much a part of the living tradition in Ireland (Ó Canainn, 1978).

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Darley & McCall (Feis Ceol Collection of Traditional Irish Dance Music), 1914; No. 57, p. 25. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 742, p. 367. O’Farrell (National Irish Music for the Union Pipes), 1804; pp. 24-25 (appears as “Sheeling O Guira, with new Variations”). O’Farrell (Pocket Companion for the Irish or Union Pipes), c. 1805; p. 13. Thumoth (Twelve Scotch and Twelve Irish Airs), 1748; No. 16, pp. 32-33.

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