Trailibane Bridge

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X:1 T:Trailibane Bridge M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air S:O’Neill – Music of Ireland (1903), No. 428 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion Q:"Moderate" K:G Minor G>AG GAc|d2=e f2 e/f/|d>cA A>G^F|G2F D3|G>AG GAc|d2=e f2 e/f/| dcA G2G|(G3G2)||f|g>fd fga|b2a g2a|g>fd d>cA|G2F D2f| gfd fga|b2a g2f|dgb a>g^f|(g3 g2)f|g>fd fga|b2 a/b/ g2a| g>fd dcA|G2F D2^F|G>AG GAc|d2=e f2 e/f/|dcA G2G|(G3G2)||



TRAILIBANE BRIDGE (Droiciod Traig-Le-Bain). AKA and see “Little Red Lark of the Mountain (2) (The).” Irish, Air (6/8 time). G Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. One of the settings collected by George Petrie under the title "Little Red Lark of the Mountain (2) (The)" is nearly identical to O'Neill's "Trailibane Bridge," albeit a tone lower (in 'F' minor).

O'Neill mentions the tune in this passage from his Irish Folk Music: A Fascinating Hobby (1910, pp. 77-78):

A violinist of the old school--I.S. Dunning, before mentioned--took a keen interest in our work since its inception; and besides contributing rare unpublished airs and dance tunes his critical but kindly comment served a useful purpose. In reviewing Music of Ireland he tells us that the melody which captivated his fancy and that of his family above all others is "Trailibane Bridge." The fact that its haunting plaintiveness had made it also my choice is more than mere conincidence. When affliction beyond the power of the pen to describe cast its withering blight on our home, this weird and fascinating air obsessed my waking hours for days unnumbered. To me no other strains in the whole range of wailing dirges so deeply touches the heart or so feelingly voices the language of sadness and despair.

Two versions of this air--one from Mayo and the other from Armagh--are to be found in the Complete Petrie Collection lately issued in London. They are named "Little Red Lark of the Mountain."

Trailibane Bridge, ivyclad and ancient, spans a rocky, brawling river named on the maps 'Owennashingaun', in west Cork. Three townlands meet at this bridge, a significant curcumstance to at least one disciple of the "black art", who one May morning at sunrise stood knee deep in the rushing waters with scissors along the imaginary lines of the townland boundaries under the centre of the main arch. Whatever songs may have been sung to this touching air are lost as far as the writer has been able to ascertain.

Paul de Grae points out that the "affliction" O'Neill referred to was undoubtedly his personal and profound grief at the loss of so many of his children; of ten--five sons and five daughters--all the boys and one daughter died young. Three of the boys died the same day, from diptheria. The last boy, Rogers O'Neill, a college student and violinist, died at the age of eighteen in 1904 of spinal meningitis [1].


Additional notes



Printed sources : - O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 428, p. 75.






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  1. Paul de Grae, “Notes on Sources to Tunes in the O’Neill Collections”, 2017 [1]