Mary O’ The Wisp reel

Also known as Máire Na Soc, Moll An Tiarna, Moll Na Tiarna.

There are 10 recordings of this tune.

Mary O’ The Wisp has been added to 4 tune sets.

Mary O' The Wisp has been added to 62 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Four settings

1
X: 1
T: Mary O' The Wisp
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
Ad (3ddd efdB|Ad (3ddd BedB|Ad (3ddd efde|fage fddB|
Ad (3ddd efdB|Ad (3ddd BedB|Ad (3ddd efdB|1 cA (3AAA cA (3AAA:|2 cA (3AAA cdeg||
fAgA fAgA|fage fdde|fAgA fefg|aA (3AAA afge|
fAgA fAgA|fage fefg|abag efed|1 cA (3AAA cdeg:|2 cA (3AAA cA (3AAA||
2
X: 2
T: Mary O' The Wisp
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
Ad d2 efdB|Ad d2 efdB|ABde fAde|fage fddB|
Ad d2 efdB|Ad d2 efdB|ABde fAdB|1 cA A2 cA A2:|2 cA A2 cdeg||
faga faga|fage fdde|faga fefg|eA A2 efge|
faga faga|fage fefg|abag efed|1 cA A2 cdeg:|2 cA A2 cA A2||
# Added by JACKB .
3
X: 3
T: Mary O' The Wisp
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
P:A
|:EF|Gccd ecBc|d2ec dcAc|G2cd ecfe|A2GA AGED|
Gccd ecBc|d2ec dcAg|fafd ecBA|G2GF GF:|
P:B
|:EF|Gccd e2ce|d2Bd c2cd|ecfd ecfe|1 A2GA AG:|2 G2GF G2||
P:C
ef|gbge fafd|egdB cBcd|egfd ecdc|AA2^G A2ef|
g2 f2 e4|dd2B cBcd|egfd ecdB|G2GF G2||
P:D
ef|gage fafd|egdB cBcd|egfd ecdc|AA2^G A2ef|
gage fafd|egdB cBcd|egfd ecdB|G2GF G2||
P:E
EF|Gccd e3c|d3B c3d|egfd ecdc|AA2A AGE^F|
Gccd e2ce|d2Bd c2cd|ecfd ecdB|GG2^F G4||
4
X: 4
T: Mary O' The Wisp
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
dB|:Add2 ecdB|Addc dedB|Acde fdeg|fbge fdB^G|
Add2 ecdB|Addc dedB|Acde fbed|cA~A2 cA~A2:|
fAge fdge|fdge fdB2|fage fefg|aA~A2 aA~A2|
fAge fdge|fbge fefg|abaf egfd|1 cA~A2 cA~A2:|
[2 "^last time"cA~A2 cAGE|D8||

Eleven comments

A great tune that I’m guessing is from Donegal. Lots of bowed triplets and a driving rhythm make it great for the fiddle.

This tune is NOT Moll na Tiarna, despite what on the Altan album notes, but a companion tune called Mary o’ the Wisp. The two tunes are very frequently played together in Donegal as the names come from an old folk-tale, where Mary o’ the Wisp is the servant of Moll.

Moll na Tiarna

They play the same tune on Blackwater. I know it as Biddy From Muckross

Posted by .

bar the last high b, this mighty reel suits the Highland pipes perfectly.

Fullset Version

X: 1
T: Moll And Tiarna
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Dmaj
Ad d2 efdB|Ad d2 efdB|ABde fAde|fage fddB|
Ad d2 efdB|Ad d2 efdB|ABde fAdB|1cA A2 cA A2:|2cA A2 cdeg||
faga faga|fage fdde|faga fefg|eA A2 efge|
faga faga|fage fefg|abag efed|1cA A2 cdeg:|2cA A2 cA A2||

Posted by .

Re: Moll And Tiarna

To Prouse :
If this tune is not Moll na Tiarna, then what is the right tune under this title ?

Re: Moll And Tiarna

The tune here is “Maire na Sop,” also called “Mary of the Wisp.” Altan’s source for the tune might have been Francie Dearg Byrne, who played it followed by a tune he called “Moll na Tiarna”—the latter appears to be a version of “The Volunteer.”

The Folktale?

Regarding Prouse’s comment from 13 years ago, does anyone have information on the folktale for which these two tunes are named? I’m very curious; I tried checking online but have had no luck so far.

Re: Mary O’ The Wisp

@Daniel Parker re the origins of the tune names:

This is from The Traditional Tune Archive: https://tunearch.org/wiki/TTA

“MOL NA TIARNA (The Landlord’s Beautiful Daughter). AKA - “Moll and Tiarna,” “Moll na Tiar na.” AKA and see “Ceol na dTéad.” Irish, Reel. Ireland, County Donegal. C Major. Standard tuning. ABB’C. A popular reel in County Donegal. Francie Dearg O’Byrne, the fiddler who popularized this tune, told the following story about it and a companion tune. It seems that Mol na Tiarna, the Landlord’s Beautiful Daughter, was brought up by a servant named Maire na Sop (Maire of the wisp), and that this servant had a great talent for lilting which she passed on to the girl. In good time Mol became enamoured of a young man of whom her father disapproved and so they had to tryst in secret. Mol enlisted the help of Maire, who was so attached to the girl that she could refuse her nothing, to help keep tabs on her father who had promised to kill the young man if he found them together. The two women arranged a signal in which, if the coast were clear Maire would lilt Mol’s favorite reel, and if there was danger Maire would lilt her own favorite reel. This worked well for some time until once, when Maire was distracted, the landlord noticed his daughter missing, and suspecting some sort of affair between his daughter and the boy, he grabbed his gun and set off. Maire finally noticed the landlord gone and ran toward the trysting place with all haste, whistling the warning tune. The boy was able to make an escape, and the women able to explain their presence at the place enough to mollify the father. The story ends happily, for the father eventually lost his dislike of the young man and the two were soon thereafter married. The story of two tunes got around and have since been called by the names of the two lilters.”

Mary O’ The Wisp, X:3

“The Northern Fiddler” has this as two separate tunes.
This is “Moll an Tiarna” as a 5 part tune, played ABCDEB
Collected from Francie and Mickey Byrne in Donegal.

Mary O’ The Wisp, X:4

And this (X:4) is the “The Northern Fiddler” version of “Mary O’The Wisp” often played after X:3 “Moll an Tiarna