This is a great old reel which I couldn’t find on the site. I got it on the ‘Our Dear Dark Mountain With The Sky Over It’ CD (first tune on track five). This is a great CD of music from the Sliabh Beagh region of Monaghan and Fermanagh. The Session Recordings section incorrectly links to McKenna’s Jig but the tune on the CD is definitely this reel. Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to amend the link. So if anyone knows how to do that could you amend the link please so that it links to this tune?
Seán McElwain writes the following about the tune in the album sleeve notes: "Although sharing a similar melodic structure with the well-known reel ‘The Swallow’s Tail’, McKenna’s Reel (the title by which this tune was known in the region) was a firm favourite among the many fiddlers of the Sliabh Beagh region. In particular it has associations with Owen Connolly" [a noted North Monaghan fiddler, 1880-1950].
I know that there’s also a copy of it in the Luke Donnellan collection of music from South Monaghan, Louth and South Armagh (published 1909). Among the musicians Donnellan collected from was Philip Goodman. He was a piper from Donaghmoyne, County Monaghan who walked all the way from his home to Belfast to compete in the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898 - a distance of 105km. They don’t make them like that any more!
I don’t know if Goodman gave McKenna’s Reel to Donnellan but it is one of tunes in the Goodman Repertoire. This is a list of tune names collected by Enrí Ó Muiríosa from Goodman in 1900. There are 307 titles listed in the Goodman Repertoire although he claimed to be able to play at least 500 tunes but just couldn’t remember all the names.
In any case it’s a great Northern tune. Hope you enjoy.