The Blacksmith jig

Also known as The Blacksmith Courted Me.

There are 21 recordings of this tune.

The Blacksmith has been added to 195 tunebooks.

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One setting

Sheet Music
Sheet Music
Sheet Music
Sheet Music

Twelve comments

The Blacksmith

This is a tune for beginners, but proficient musicians will also enjoy it.

The tune comes from the playing of Galway banjo player Enda Scahill. According to the liner notes of the recording, it was originally a slow air, but Dublin flute player Eamonn DeBarra changed it into a jig.

What a happy jig! I cannot help smiling while playing it slowly.


Planxty has done very good job of this tune the best version i’ve haerd yet

Are you sure, Lilting Piper? I doubt Planxty recorded this very rare tune.


“Planxty” did indeed record “The Blacksmith”, but not a jig. “The Blacksmith” is a traditional English song, which was recorded by “Steeleye Span” on their 2nd recording “Please To See The King”. Andy Irvine re-arranged it , and “Balkanised” it, making much use of his mandola and Donal Lunny’s bouzouki, on “Planxty”’s first LP, the “black” album. Enda Scahill’s jig version was derived from one of these recordings – I can’t remember which , but am sure it is mentioned in the sleeve notes of his solo CD.

Sorry for my ignorance. I haven’t got any Planxty album yet. Could you post the original version of the tune? That should be nice one too.

I’m presuming you’re joking about the happy jig part in the first part slainte. ;)

Very nice jig and it sounds well on Pick it Up.


Could anyone have a go at the Andy Irvine arrangement? I can’t figure out the breakdown at the very start of the tune. It’s been at me for years!!!!

I believe this should be played as a reel…or a slide…or something 4/4ish

Short drum intro
Bm A F#m A Bm
The blacksmith courted me/ nine months or better
He fairly won my heart/ wrote me a letter(?)
D A Bm A
With a hammer in his hand/ he looked quite clever
And if I were with my love(?)/ I would live forever

O, where has my love gone/ with his cheeks lie roses
He’s gona across the sea/ gathering the roses(?)
I fear the shining sun will burn and scorch his beauty
and if I were with my love/ I would do my duty

Strange news has come to town/ strange news is carried
Sad news cries up(?) from town/ that my love has married
I wish them both much joy/ though they can’t hear me
and if I were with my love/ I would do my duty

What did you promise me/ as you lay beside me
You said you’d marry me/ and not deny me
If I said I’d marry you/ ’twas only for to try you
so bring your witness now/ and I’ll not deny you

No witness have I none/ save God Almighty
And may he reward you well/ for your slighting of me
Her lips grew pale and warm/ her heart did tremble

Not sure about all of those lyrics

I know this tune!

Didn’t Loreena Mckennitt do a re-make of this tune in her first album?

The Planxty versiion

The first time I hear this, on the “Live at Vicar St. 2004” CD, I wept. These are real journeyman performers, and Irvine captures in his voice and improvisation, the pain and confusion of the scorned lover: “Her lips grew pale and wan, her poor heart did tremble, to think she loved but one---and he proved deceitful!”

And then, after the story is told, Liam og O’Flynn pressures up his venerable pipes and wails the saddest passage, most meticulously executed.

Jayzus. You could have knocked me over with a drone reed.
I don’t think I’ve heard a piece of music that so pierced my heart in many years.

This is very very rich stuff.

The Span have an earlier version on Hark the Villiage Waits. Corrected lyrics, “with his cheeks like roses”. Gathering primroses“, ”sad news flies up snd down", The last two lines have already been corrected. The part about the witness is, if I remember from law school, referring to the English Statute of Frauds, under which contracts for martiage must either be in writing or be witnessed. We lawyers were tricky even then!