The Boys Of Belfast march

Also known as Campbells Farewell To Red Castle, March For The Boys Of Belfast.

There are 6 recordings of this tune.

The Boys Of Belfast has been added to 4 tune sets.

The Boys Of Belfast has been added to 66 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The Boys Of Belfast
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A3B c2d2|efgf e2ed|c2A2 A2Bc|dedB G2E2|
A2AB c2d2|efgf e2ed|c2A2 dBGB|1 A4 A2E2:|2 A4 A4||
|:e2ed e2f2|d2dc d2ed|c2A2 A2Bc|dedB G2E2|
AGAB c2d2|efgf e2ed|c2A2 dBGB|1 A4 A4:|2 A4 A2E2||
# Added by Q .

Ten comments

Marching to a different beat

This isn’t really a reel, it’s a march - don’t seem to be many such floating around. Anyway, this was the tune, as performed by Clannad I think, that first got me determined to play Irish Trad - even though it’s not exactly a typical form.

It has a ‘sister’ jig called The Girls of Belfast, which is pretty much the same notes but in a 6/8 rhythm. I’ll see if I can write it up.

if you don’t know it, you can hear a clip of ‘Boys’ here:

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Campbell’s Farewell

This has recently been recorded by Frankie Gavin & Gary Hastings on Frankie’s 4-CD set titled “Frankie Gavin 2003-2004”.
Like many Northern marches, it is almost certainly Scottish in origin. In Scotland it is known as “Campbell’s Farewell To Redcastle”.

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Boys Of Belfast

Also recorded by Desi Wilkinson on “The Crooked Stairs” - “Cran”s 1st CD. It’s not identical to “Campbell’s” but there are strong similarities,

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I discovered this tune on an el-CHeapo CD entitled “Irish Jigs and Reels” by Lasrlight, for the low, low price of $5.99 at Borders.

Laserlight Digital #12 939.

The playing is actually pretty good, despite a new-agey flavor on some of the tunes.

Cheapo CD “Irish Jigs and Reels” are actually Cran tracks

The tracks are identical to some of the tracks from the “Crooked Stairs”. Note that the existence of this cheap Laserlight CD might be the reason for this comment from Cran’s web site (

CRAN’s legendary debut album, released in 1995 on the now-notorious (but, happily, defunct) CBM label. Ronan Browne was still just a twinkle in CRAN’s eye at the time and the line-up was Seán, Desi and Belfastman Neil Martin who played uilleann pipes and cello. The album soon achieved an “ underground cult status “ for its quirky arrangements and big vocal style - which has since become a CRAN hallmark. Unfortunately, despite being much sought-after, it’s at present unavailable due to legal disputation, so if you have a copy lock it away safe at night!

Marching Tune

For an Ulster Fifer’s Marching version of this tune, check out Gary Hasting’s book ‘with Fife and Drum’ - tune No. 3, page 88.