Walls of Limerick (1) (The)

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WALLS OF LIMERICK [1], THE. Irish, Set Dance (3 parts, consisting of the tunes "White Cockade (1) (The)," "Soldier's Joy (1)," and "Rakes of Mallow"). G Major, D Major, G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDEEFF. The Walls of Limerick is the name of a céilí dance, to which, in modern times, reels are the preferred vehicle (though polkas appear in older collections). The tunes printed in Allan’s Irish Fiddler under the “Walls of Limerick” title (which refers to the dance) are "The White Cockade", "The Soldier's Joy" and "The Rakes of Mallow/Rigs of Marlow.”

One elderly Sliabh Luachra (a Kerry/Cork border region) resident, Tom Jim Healy of Knocknaboul, Ballydesmond, was interviewed in the 1960’s about life in the region (quoted in Donal Hickey’s Stone Mad for Music, 1999). He was asked people there ever worried, and replied:

Not on your life. Our only trouble was to find out where was the next pattern or house dance. They were jolly times and the people were much more sociable and loyal. This coupled with hard work and plain food kept them alive. We used to dance ‘The Jenny Lind’ and ‘The Walls of Limerick’ at weddings and patterns. All they have nowadays is this jig-jog of a foreign dance which shouldn’t be allowed at all!

The country dance the Walls of Limerick was sourced to Thomas Danaher (Thomas O Danachair of Mhoinage) by Fionán Mac Coluim. Danaher taught in Glasgow around the tune of the 20th century, and, according to Reg Hall, "points to his having been a Gaelic League dance inventor or collector rather than a rural informant" (Hall, A Few Tunes of Good Music, 2016, p. 191).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920’s; No. 119, p. 31.

Recorded sources:




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