The Abbeyleix reel

By Sean Ryan

Also known as Abbey Leaks, The Abbey Leix, Bowe’s.

There are 11 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Abbeyleix appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Abbeyleix has been added to 6 tune sets.

The Abbeyleix has been added to 70 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Abbeyleix
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ddor
|:D2ED CA, (3A,A,A,|FEFG AB (3cBA|d2ed cAdc|AcGE EDDC|
D2ED CA, (3A,A,A,|FEFG AB (3cBA|d2ed cAdc|AcGE ED D2:|
|:d2fd adfd|g2fg eABc|dDcD BDAF|GEFD EA,A,A|d2fd adfd|
g2fg eABc|dDcD BDAF|GBAG FD D2:|
X: 2
T: The Abbeyleix
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ddor
|:A,|D2ED CA,A,2|FEFG ABcA|d2ed cedc|AcGE EDCA,|
D2ED CA,A,A,|FEFG ABcA|d2ed cedc|AcGE EDD:|
|:A|d2fd adfd|gAfA eAce|dDcD BDAF|GEFD EA,CE|
d2fd adfd|gAfA eAce|dDcD BDAF|GBAG FDD:|

Twenty-two comments

The tune

i only have one thing to say, thi is a beast of a tune, good for the banjo, thats it


Where did it come from. Sounds nice.


The Abbeyleix

Isn’t this a Sean Ryan tune? I think the B-part’s supposed to be in D major.

“variations”, or rather, as written…

One of my favorite tunes to play at home…this is in fact a Sean Ryan composition. You can find it in a collection of his compositions called “A Hidden Ireland”. The tune immediately after it is called the “County Leix reel”, and it’s just as twisty and they go nicely together, with the County first and then Abbey second. I’ll try to take some time out to post that one.

A nice variation for bars 2 & 5 of the B part (and actually what is written for this tune in the collection):


At least on the fiddle if you play that and use cross-bowing all the way down it sounds mad cool.



Bar 6 rather

“The Abbeyleix Reel”

"The Hidden Ireland:
The First Selection of Irish Traditional Compositions of Seán Ryan"
Compiled by Brian Ryan

Page 27 ~ “The Abbeyleix Reel”

While they start the notation of with the key signature of D Major, the A-part of the tune has F & C as naturals throughout with any low G’s sharped ~ G,#. The B-part is D Major…

The G,# mentioned above is in bars 1 & 5 of the A-Part of the melody, the slight difference from the tune given here, all notes are natural except for this accidental:

| D2 ED CA, (3A,^G,A, |

County Leix reel

“The tune immediately after it is called the ”County Leix reel"

Could anyone jot down a couple first bars of that? I’m trying to id the name of a tune after the Abbeyleix from a session. Might be that.

Thanks, Lesl

Posted by .

The Abbeyleix Reel

Can anyone direct me to any recording of this reel?

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

It’s in the “Road to Port Fairy” set, which you can hear on Trouble In The Kitchen’s MySpace page here:

That tune starts at about 2:45 of the set… Good stuff

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

Also, Veronica McNamara has a CD at cdbaby called Petticoat Loose and it’s on it

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

Reverend…. thanks a lot…
concertina player…. thanks as well… do you know if her version is the same as the one in the database here?

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

Hi molaoch, I don’t know if the versions are the same as I don’t play the tune, but looking at the dots in Sean Ryan’s book and at the dots in the database, I can see some differences.However, as I say, I don’t really “know” the tune and so it might be that there are many versions out there with none of the dot versions being the generally played version, whatever generally played means? Perhaps someone here who knows the tune might be able to help further.

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

it’ll be hard to go past Trouble In The Kitchen’s version…….. you won’t be disappointed

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

Yeah, Ado cranks it. Mad tune, a standout on an album full of excellent tunes.

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

I played the Abbeyleix at the festival in Canberra a couple of years back and none of the Trouble lads joined in. Maybe it was the way I played it 🙁

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

yes, yes it was.

Re: The Abbeyleix Reel

How did you know that, SirNose? You were in the beginners’ session at the other end of the bar while I played with the rest of your band.

David Munnelly’s recording

David plays it as the first tune in the last set on his cd called Sway. Great powerful playing.
Brendan MCGlinchey’s,The Taproom,The Rambling Thatcher
Its the big finale on this video:

Re: The Abbeyleix

John Bowe plays this after the Land of Sunshine on his 70s LP, a set which John Nolan reproduces on his Rake of Reels CD.

For the correct key signatures just take the 1st setting and add K:Dmaj before the 2nd part, instead of cluttering the first part up with accidentals.

Re: The Abbeyleix

Fair enough, Kevin -- I was copying the structure from the linked Ryan scan. I’ve now changed it to use the transition key sig change as suggested.