Ceol Na DTéad

By Francie And Mickey Byrne

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I’m surprised that this album hasn’t been listed earlier.

‘Ceol na dTéad’ (aka ‘The Glory Reel’) was recorded by the Byrne brothers from Kilcar in southwest Donegal some time in the 1970s I think and released by Cló Iar-Chonnachta in cassette-only format in 1992. Amazingly, the company still has copies for sale -

The bulk of the album consists of duets by the two fiddlers (all unaccompanied).

I’ve translated most of the titles into English, but left some in the original Irish either because they’re more familiar as such or because I’m not convinced that the translations given in the very limited liner notes are accurate.

Of the two tunes with unknown titles, tracks 8 and 9, the first is a hornpipe and the second a reel.

There are plans afoot to issue a far better recording of Francie Dearg and Mickey, but this one well suffices in the meantime.

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Francie & Mickey Byrne

Sadly, and I resist converting you moniker to something silly, it is out of print… I wish it weren’t. These two fine characters are among my blessed acquaintances in life. Well I remember dancing sets with just the three of us and 5 other invisible people, what a hoot!!! They raised the value of my life, enriched it…

The Airs

Here’s what I know so far:

Track 26: "An Bunnán Buí" (‘The Yellow Bittern’) refers, I assume, to the poem/song by Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna.

Track 7: According to the description of this video (, "Máire Mhaitiú" (‘Mary Matthew[s]’) is a lament on the drowning of a child. Although paced differently, both versions — the duet of Francie and Mickey on this recording and Tara Connaghan’s rendition in the video, — are very moving and appropriate. I’d like to know more about it, who wrote it, the circumstances, the lyrics, etc.

Which just leaves "Clúine Meallta" (track 13), which I haven’t managed to find out about yet. I assume the title has something to do with charm/beauty/beguilement, so maybe a love song?