Walls of Liscarroll (1)

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WALLS OF LISCARROLL [1] (Ballaide Lios-Cearbaill). AKA and see "Andy Hehir's Jig," "Ballaí Lios Chearbhaill," "Lads on the Mountain.” Irish, Double Jig. D Mixolydian (most versions): E Dorian (Roche). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABC (Miller & Perron): AABB (O'Neill {all versions}, Roche, Taylor): AABB’ (Harker/Rafferty). The town of Liscarrol, meaning ‘Fort of Cearull,’ is located in the county of Cork, near the border with Limerick about halfway between the cities of Limerick and Cork, and dates from the early Middle Ages. There is a ruined castle there to which the title may refer, or it may perhaps reference a battle that occurred at Liscarroll in the 17th century. Williamson (1976) reports that one of the lords of the castle, Sir John Purcell of Hightort, “is remembered for his feat of slaying, when armed only with a carving knife, eight armed robbers as they forced their way into his bedroom.” There is a 4/4 time version of the tune in the American old time tradition called "Muddy Water (1)" (AKA and see). It has been suggested (by, for one, Louie W. Attebery in his article "The Fiddle Tune: An American Artifact" {1979}) that the name change from "Walls of Liscarroll" to "Muddy Water" came about in a process of naturalization due to anti-British sentiments during the War of 1812. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh, writing in the liner notes of Glackin & Hannan’s CD “Whirlwind” (1995) states the tune has a Munster provenance. Towards the end of the 20th century, he says, musicians frequently played the tune in higher pitched keys than was formerly the custom. John Kelly, for one, always preferred the older, lower version. See also the related “Little Black Pig” and the second part of “Matt Teahan's Delight.”

Sources for notated versions: Chieftains (Ireland) [Miller & Perron]; John Carey, a native of Limerick [O’Neill]; set dance music recorded live at Na Píobairí Uilleann, mid-1980’s [Taylor]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources: Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 185, p. 58. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music, vol. 1), 1977; No. 24. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 41. O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 149, p. 85. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 18. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 704, p. 131. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 8, p. 18. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1912; No. 89, p. 40. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 25. Vallely (Learn to Play the Tin Whistle with Armagh Pipers Club, vol. 2); No. 9, p. 7. Williamson (English, Welsh, Scotch and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; p. 79.

Recorded sources: Gael-Linn CEF 068, Martin Hayes – “An Fhidil, Vol. 1” (1976). Shanachie 79021, “The Chieftains I.” Shanachie 79093, Paddy Glackin & Robbie Hannan – “The Whirlwind” (1995).

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [2]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [3]
Hear the tune played by Mrs. Elizabeth Crotty at the Comhaltas Archive [4]
Hear the tune played by Bobby Gardiner at the Comhaltas Archive [5]




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