71 widely played polkas

71 widely played polkas

As requested, here’s a list of "the most common" session polkas.

Many polka names are foggier than other tune forms, and lots of people seem to pick up polkas on the fly at sessions. So I checked each of these against alternative names in the tune archives here and in Breathnach’s Ceol Rince volumes in vain hopes of settling on the most widely used names.

Bear in mind that lots of polkas often go by just last names: "Ryan’s" which is also known as "John Ryan’s" to distinguish it from "Peg Ryan’s," etc.

All the Ways to Galway
As I Went Out Upon the Ice
Babes in the Wood
The Ballinakill
The Ballydehob
The Ballydesmond No. 1
The Ballydesmond No. 2
The Ballydesmond No. 3
The Ballyvourney
Bill the Weaver
Britches Full of Stitches
Captain Byng
Carroll’s
Charlie Harris’
Church Street
The Croppie’s March
The Cuil Aodha
The Cullane
Dan Coakley’s
Dan Mack’s
Dark Girl Dressed in Blue
Dashing White Sergeant
Denis Murphy’s
Din Tarrant’s No. 1
Din Tarrant’s No. 2
Egan’s
The Finnish
The Forty-two Pound Cheque
Ger the Rigger
The Girl I Left Behind Me (aka Brighton Camp)
The Glen Cottage (aka The Glin Cottage)
The Glenside
The Gurteen Cross
Heel and Toe (aka I’ll Tell Me Ma)
I’ll Buy Boots for Maggie
Jenny Lind
Jessica’s
John Brosnan’s
John Egan’s
John McKenna’s
John Ryan’s
Julia Clifford’s
The Knocknaboul
The Lakes of Sligo
The Leitrim
The Listowel No. 1
The Listowel No. 2
The Little Diamond
Lucy Farr’s No. 1
Lucy Farr’s No. 2
Maggie in the Woods
The Maids of Ardagh
Mrs. Ryan’s
The Murroe (aka Peg Ryan’s)
My Love is But a Lassie
The Newmarket
O’Keefe’s
O’Sullivan’s
The Rakes of Mallow
The Rattlin’ Bog
Red Haired Mary
Riding on a Load of Hay
The Rose Tree
Salmon Tails Up The Water
The Scartaglen
Shoe the Donkey
The Siege of Ennis
Sliabh Luchra
Teehan’s
The Tolka
The Top of the Maol (aka The Groves of Gneevegulia)
Tralee Gaol
The Trip to Dingle
Tripping to the Well
The Tuar Mor No. 1
The Tuar Mor No. 2
Walsh’s
The White Cockade

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Re: 71 widely played polkas

Thanks! I love polkas but I don’t know that many, so it’s nice to have a list of good ones to check out.

Oh, and how about Bill Sullivan’s?

Re: 71 widely played polkas

I second Bill Sullivan’s - and how about Farewell to Whiskey? Thanks Will - great list…

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Farewell to Whisky is not a polka!

Well, okay. Play it as a polka if you like. But it’s a slow air.

Re: 71 widely played polkas

When the late Tony Cuffe performed a concert here he introduced Farewell to Whisk(e)y as a tune that’s played as a lament in Scotland and as a polka in Ireland.

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Thanks Gary - I hadn’t heard it as an air before, but I found a few versions in itunes. It’s a tragic title - I understand now

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Thanks - it’s another encouragement to learn the names of the bloody things.

Re: 71 widely played polkas

LOL, Nicholas, that’s as much why I did this list, too.

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Re: 71 widely played polkas

Niel Gow will be turning in his grave…

Re: 71 widely played polkas

This list is - regrettably - errr - meaningless >_>

Padraig o’Keeffe gave each polka at least two names, it seems; Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy growing up in the same bloody house have different names for the same tune, and it doesn’t help that there are six different guys named Murphy, each with six different polkas named after them. For a purposeful list, could we get a bar or two of each, mebbe?

—DtM

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Erm, the list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, nor does it absolve you of the job of finding the tunes (preferably from a musician in person) and learning them. Yes, there are several polkas under the names O’Keefe’s, Murphy’s, Ryan’s, and Clifford’s. Some are more popular than others, but many of them are widely played. Learn them all, if you like polkas and want to be able to join in when a set rolls around.

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Re: 71 widely played polkas

Are polkas widely played in sessions?

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Yes they are, in Oz anyway. Pat Horgan’s #1 (Cathy’s Favourite).

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Re: 71 widely played polkas

The Ballydehob and Maid’s of Ardagh are the same tune. Maid’s of Ardagh is the original name, (see comments for the Ballydehob.)
https://thesession.org/tunes/8212

Re: 71 widely played polkas

We love polkas here! Slides too. Up Sliabh SW Florida. 😉

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Many of these so called ‘Kerry Polkas’ are derivations of the original tunes. The Maids of Ardagh for instance is a derivation of The Liberton Pipe Band, and I also heard Cadam Woods played as a polka under a different name. The theory I heard when I first came across these tunes is that many of them were learnt by ear by the peasantry from the original music they heard coming from the dances in the ‘Big House’

Re: 71 widely played polkas

Free Reed: in addition to dance music, I know marches tend to fall very easily into polka-rhythm as well. Back in the day when every unit had its own anthem, a military parade must’ve been at least a dozen new tunes to play out.

—DtM

Re: 71 widely played polkas

the tuar mur no1,or the toormore no1,or perhaps its the toormore no2,is the maids of ardagh again.
the Ballydehob,and one of the Toormores[ the toormore no2 or no 1][and Maids of Ardagh] are the same tune.

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