County Tunes

Mark Geddis used to come to the sessions in Ballydehob many years ago: he lives a few kilometres from the town boundary. He has sent in two jigs and I think they are great! I really like Mark’s relaxed fiddle style – it sounds so natural. I have called this post ‘County Tunes’ because the first  – Clare Jig – should come from Co Clare (as you might expect), while the second – Shandon Bells – should be from Co Cork.


In fact ‘Clare Jig’ is more usually known as The Mug of Brown Ale, and associated with traditional players from Counties Galway and Longford, among others.

The original Shandon Bells are housed in the Church of St Anne in the Shandon district of Cork City, built in the early 1700s. It’s worth a visit because you can climb the tower and play the bells yourself on a carillon! (That’s a series of hammers attached to ropes forming a kind of keyboard). But the jig tune… It seems to have many incarnations and is particularly associated with Joe Bane from Feakle, Co Clare! I learned it myself (in the key of G) from concertina player Mary Macnamara who is also from Clare. Some say the name should be ‘Shannon Bells’… It all gets very confusing when you start to ferret out tune names and sources, but none of it really matters, as it’s the music that’s important. Many thanks, Mark.

Shandon St Anne’s, Cork City, and ‘playing’ the bells!

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