It’s A Hard Road To Travel
Source: Andy Mcgann & Paul Brady_It’s a Hard Road to Travel
Transcription: Gian Marco Pietrasanta
…sometime I’d like to play the fiddle…
Requested by "dogface" . A fiddle tune , more than anything, recorded by Paddy Killoran, Andy McGann, Burke & Daly, among others. Andy McGann called it "A Hard Road To Travel", and it’s in O’Neill’s as "Carrigaline".
Also recorded by the Pride Of New York, and Paddy O’Brien (Offaly)
Also played by The Red Wellies…
…who did a lovely job of it on their CD, though the track names got confused and they labeled this tune "King of the Clans" and vice versa.
This tune is generally known as The Steeplechase, but I think its more common name is The Rock of Cashel or Carragline (as per O’Neill’s). I once found an old tune book from the 20’s or 30’s (apparently very popular) that has one right under the other, with this tune under the name The Rock of Cashel.
Tommy Peoples recorded it as "Carrigaline" on Iron Man
X:2 from Kevin Keegan and friends, basically after the original recording by Killoran/Sweeny but the triplets at the end of the 2nd part are a nice additional touch. The Killoran/Sweeny setting was faithfully followed by those who followed in their footsteps: Burke/Daly, , McGann/Reynolds. A student of Keegan’s once spent about half an hour trying to get me to play the correct setting, which I’m pretty confident I have here. The Mulvihill collection has a setting with some nice touches I’ll try and add later on; I’m throwing in X:3 which is the Andy McGann setting referenced above, that tune entry should just be deleted, knowing about it would have saved me some time.
The Steeplechase, X:4
This seems a bit closer to Paddy Sweeney’s version.
The Steeplechase, X:5
My version in D Major.
I’ve never come across it played in anything but D, obviously I’m missing out in my exposure, must get out more ;~)
I found 10 commercial recordings of it in my iTunes library. 8 are in C (Chulrua, Willie Kelly, Bríd Harper, Antóin Mac Gabhann, Katie O’Sullivan, James Keane, Lissa Schneckenburger, and Jerry Holland). Tommy Peoples recorded it in C# and Kevin Burke & Jackie Daly recorded it in E flat. Presumably Tommy is playing in C fingering tuned up a half step, as he is on the whole "Iron Man" album. Jackie would be using D fingering on a D/D# box, which is the same as playing in C on a B/C box. Kevin would probably be playing in D fingering tuned up a half step. I’ve heard it mostly in East Clare, where C is the normal key for it. Willie Kelly, in the liner notes to his version on Mike & Mary Rafferty’s album "Road to Ballinakill", he says he learned it from Jackie Daly but was encouraged to play it in C by Francie Donnellan.
The Steeplechase, X:8
Transcribed from the "Doorways And Windowsills" album by Antóin Mac Gabhann and Mick O’Connor.