The Spike Island Lasses reel

Also known as Cloichíní Beaga Na Farraige, Gearrchaile Oileán Píce, Gearrchaillí Oileán Píce, The Small Stones Of The Sea, Spike Island Lasses, Spike Island Lassies, The Spike Island Lassies.

There are 60 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Old Bush (a few times), Bunker Hill (a few times), Dowd’s Favourite (a few times), Farewell To Leitrim (a few times), Richard Dwyer’s (a few times).

The Spike Island Lasses has been added to 281 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Spike Island Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|=cAGE AD (3DDD|ED (3DDD (3EFG Ad|=cAGE AG (3EFG|Adde fded|
=cAGE AD (3DDD|ED (3DDD (3EFG Ad|=cAGE AG (3EFG|Addc d3 e|
f2df efge|dfed cAAe|fedf ed{ed}cd|Addc d2{ed}cd|
eaag efge|dfed cAGG|Addc d4|Adde fded|
=cAGc ~A3d|~B3G~A3B|=cAGB AG(3EFG|Adde fded|
=cAGc ~A3 c|BGGF ~G3 B|=cAGB AG(3EFG|Addc d3e|
f2 ad faad|faaf geeg|fdAd faad|fage dcAc|
defg ~a3 b|agfa ~g2 ae|fedf edcA|d3e fded|
ABC
X: 2
T: The Spike Island Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
K: Dmix
|| cAGB ADDE|FDAD FDAd|cAGB AGFG |Adde fded|
cAGB ADDE |FD (3DDD (3EFG AB|cAGB AGFG|Addc d3 e||
K:Dmaj
f2df efge|dfed cA (3AAA|fedf edcd|Addc d2cd|
e~a3 efge|dfed cAGG|Addc d2dB|Adde fded||
K:Dmix
cAGc A3d|B3G A3B|cAGB AG(3EFG|Adde fded|
cAGc ~A3 c|BGGF ~G3 B|cAGB AG(3EFG|Addc d3e||
K:Dmaj
f2 ad faad|faaf geeg|fdAd faad|fage dcAc|
defg ~a3 b|agfa ~g2 ae|fedf edcA|d3e fded||
ABC
X: 3
T: The Spike Island Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
||:cAGB ADDE|(3FED AD FGAB|cAGB AGFG|A^cde fded|
|cAGB ADDE|EDAD FGAB|cAGB AGFG|Add^c ddde|
|ffdf ed^ce|dfed ^ceA2|fedf ed^ce|Add^c dd^cd|
|eaag ef (3gfe|dfed cAGc|Add^c dedc|Acde fdd2|
|cAGB LAGAc|LBABG AGAB|cAGB AGFG|Adde fded|
|cAGB LA3d|BGGF GFGB|cAGB AGFG|Add^c d2de|
|ffad ffad|ffaf geee|f3(f f)ede|(3fga ge d^cA^c|
|defg afab|agfa gfge|ffdf ed^ce|dd^ce eded:||
# Added by Joel .
ABC

Twenty-three comments

It’s about time this mighty tune showed up. Learn this tune!!! Now!!

Spike

Is it just me or does this tune have a most unusual structure.
This is not meant as a criticism - I love the unexpectedness of the tune. I wish it got played in sessions more.
Cheers
Donough

Hello
This version of the tune is from the CD "the south west wind" of Ronan Browne and Peter O’Loughlin.
I have in a book another version more "normal", but this one is more interesting. More i play it , more I like it.

Spike Island Lasses

In reply to Odono’s comments I find the second part almost identical to the B part of Bank of Ireland which can lead to some confusion although with enough practice I’m sure it will work out OK eventually.

Does the Spike Island refer to the on in Cork harbour.?????

Spike

That’s the only Spike Island I know of.

I take it that this tune dates back to a time when there once lasses on Spike as opposed to just interned joyriders from Dublin*. It’s known as "The Spike Island School Of Motoring" in Cobh.


*explanation for anyone who doesn’t get it: Spike Island is now a prison. It’s like a mild-mannered Alcatraz in the middle of Cork harbour.
There was a "prison break" a few years back when some workmen left a ladder near a wall and there happened to be a raft lying around on the beach.

Prison

Isn’t Spike Island famous for a prison?

Oops, didn’t read down far enough on that comment. Sorry Jeremy

I can see Spike Island out my front room window, but I never saw any lassies out there. Dont get me wrong, I am not looking at Spike from the inside by the way. Maybe we should change the name to "The Spike Island inmates" or" The Holy Ground Hotel".

Jaysus, you weren’t kidding about the B part, Bannerman — I’m going to have watch that once I learn this tune.

Zina

Thanks for putting this tune up, Gian - I’ve been trying to learn this at a session in a Zen-like manner; (by desiring to know it and going into a meditative trance whenever it is played.) I’ve come to the conclusion it can’t be done. At least not by me. The dots are a big help!

Dumb question

Is this tune supposed to have repeats or is there a "second ending" for each part?

No, I’ve only heard it played as posted, with no repeats, just straight through as is.

Have a listen to the way Angelina and Peter Carberry play the 3rd part on their "Memories from the Holla" album-nice setting! Also, it sounds great down in G, starting on F natural, (sorry pipers and flute players) sounds magic!
Love this tune, could never get sick of it!

Weird setting

This is very different from thge session setting played around north Clare. Is this a common setting in other parts of the world? Or just the ideosyncratic playing of Ronan Browne and Peter O’Loughlin, God bless them both?
Perhaps one more reason not to learn from the dots.

There are loads of reasons not to "learn from the dots," and I highly suggest you find a session or recording or whatever before learning this tune. If you want to play it the way Ronan Browne and Peter O’Loughlin do, then these dots might help. Even though my version follows the same scheme basically, it’s still different enough. But a tune like this has so many recorded examples you can surely find one version that suits your instrument. Or maybe borrow from a couple of them. If you have any good players in your area you might want to get their version of it.

Spike Island Lassies

Carmel O’Dea does a great job on this tune!

I love the way the mode changes from mixolydian to major, it’s like the reappearance of the sun after a heavy summer shower.

Spike Island Lasses

I was just going over this tune and this setting didn’t jibe with what was in my head… This is more in line with how I remember it being played. The first part is a bit different that the original transcription but the other parts are more or less the same as I know them.

X: 1
T: The Spike Island Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|| cAGB ADDE|FDAD FDAd|cAGB AGFG |Adde fded|
cAGB ADDE |FD (3DDD (3EFG AB|cAGB AGFG|Addc d3 e||
f2df efge|dfed cA (3AAA|fedf edcd|Add^c d2=cd|
e~a3 efge|dfed cAGG|Addc d2dB|Adde fded||
=cAGc A3d|B3G A3B|=cAGB AG(3EFG|Adde fded|
=cAGc ~A3 c|BGGF ~G3 B|=cAGB AG(3EFG|Addc d3e||
f2 ad faad|faaf geeg|fdAd faad|fage dcAc|
defg ~a3 b|agfa ~g2 ae|fedf edcA|d3e fded||

Which Spike?

Hi there, I’ve not posted a comment before but I thought I would wade on in with my thought for the day. In relation to a past query about the location of the Spike Island in question, I wondered that instead of the harbour prison ( where lasses may not have been much seen) if it might not refer to the area of Spike Island next to the River Mersey in North West England. There is a canal that passes there, built originaly in the late 1700s to supply the burgeoning indutries. And I’ld bet that there might have been lads from all over working there navvying to build it. One of them may have taken a fancy to the local females and been inspired. Just a thought and maybe a lost one. Cheers