Frankly, I’m astonished that this wasn’t here before and am hoping that there won’t be angry comments below that it was. I took a look through the army of Johnny (O’)Leary’s and did a pretty extensive ABC search but neither came up with anything valuable and I figured if I couldn’t find it in an hour than others probably couldn’t either.
This is a fantastic polka named after the infamous Johnny O’Leary, one of the greatest if not the greatest himself as far as Sliabh Luachra box players or even C#/D players go. As far as the history of this particular tune, it may as well be regarded as a dead end as Leary played with all the greats (in Sliabh Luachra and otherwise) and a dissertation would likely only conclude that the polka can be attributed to Patrick O’Keeffe, to join that list of hundreds…
Jackie Daly recruited it for the opening set of his classic album, "Music From Sliabh Luachra", and plays it in a set with Tom Sullivan’s and Jim Keefe’s polkas. The set is fantastic and his playing of it on that and other tapes should blow one’s breath away.
I wasn’t able to find Johnny O’Leary playing it but I am sure that at the very least there is a recording out there somewhere of it.
The second setting is a version of the tune from South Limerick boxplayer Natasha Sheehy who taught it in a Comhaltas class while learning to use the inside row. It’s similarly lovely and perhaps even preferable to B/C players.
Jackie Daly turning it over : https://youtu.be/uR3axfGqePg?t=53s
I like to play this in a set after O’Sullivan’s Fancy and before Jim Keefe’s.
O Sullivan’s Fancy https://thesession.org/tunes/2282#setting2282
Jim Keefe’s https://thesession.org/tunes/1531#setting1531
Johnny Leary’s, X:3
From the playing of Tickle Harbour.
Julia Clifford also played it, both in Dmaj and Gmaj (titled as "Bridgie Con Matt’s Favourite"):