The Hills Of Connemara reel

Also known as John Ryan’s.

There are 7 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Hills Of Connemara has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Hills Of Connemara has been added to 87 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Hills Of Connemara
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D3/2 D/2 DD A2 AA| B2 B2 A3 A| D2 z F A2 z F| GG FF E4|
D2 FF AA AA| B2 B2 A2 FE| D2 d2 A2 F2| E4 D2 z2|
X: 2
T: The Hills Of Connemara
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:dd B1/2c1/2d1/2B1/2 AD FA| dd B1/2c1/2d1/2B1/2 AF E2|
dd B1/2c1/2d1/2B1/2 ADd d1/2e1/2| fdec d2d2:|
|:fd d e1/2f1/2 gf ed| fd d e1/2d1/2 fg a2|
fd d e1/2f1/2 gf ed| fdec d2d2:|

Fourteen comments

Hills of Connemara

This is a nice little tune but VERY short. Perhaps other session members have some suggestions for some tunes to go with it for a set.

Hills of connemara - Song Lyrics

Hills Of Connemara
Chorus
Gather up the pots and the old tin cans
The mash, the corn, the barley and the bran.
Run like the devil from the excise man
Keep the smoke from rising, Barney.

Keep your eyes well peeled today
The excise men are on their way
Searching for the mountain tay
In the hills of Connemara.

Swinging to the left, swinging to the right
The excise men will dance all night
Drinkin’ up the tay till the broad daylight
In the hills of Connemara.

Chorus

A gallon for the butcher and a quart for John
And a bottle for poor old Father Tom
Just to help the poor old dear along
In the hills of Connemara.

Stand your ground, for it’s too late
The excise men are at the gate.
Glory be to Paddy, but they’re drinkin’ it straight
In the hills of Connemara.

Chorus (Twice)

Gaelic Storm and alternate lyrics

Gaelic Storm’s recording has a slightly different final verse, one that scans particularly well to my taste:

Stand your ground & don’t you fall,
The excise men, they’re at the wall—
Jaesus Christ, they’re drinkin’ it all
In the hills of Connemara

The Mead Hall Band used to play this tune sandwiched between two rounds of John Ryan’s Polka.

does anyone know the harp(harmonica) part for this??

John Ryan

Does John Ryan’s Polka have its own lyrics, or is it used more as an accompaniment?

The Hills of Connemara all put together - for those that want to sing. Whatever…

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%%titlefont Times-Bold 24
%%subtitlefont Times-Bold 18
%%gchordfont Times-Bold 14
%%composerfont Times-Italic 16
%%textfont Times-Italic 16
%%partsfont Times-Bold 14
%%printtempo 0
%%printparts 1
%%partsbox 1
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%%pagewidth 21cm

X: 808
T: Hills Of Connemara, The
Z: harpalaska, callison
S: https://thesession.org/tunes/3283#setting3283
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
%%textfont Times-Italic 16
%%begintext
%%Hornpipe
%%endtext
"D"D3/2 D/2 DD A2 AA|"G" B2 B2"D" A3 A|"D" D2 z F A2 z F|"G" GG FF "A"E4|
w:Ga-ther up the pots and the old tin cans, the mash, the corn, the bar-ley and the bran.
"D"D2 FF AA AA|"G" B2 B2 "D"A2 FE|"D" D2 d2 "G"A2 F2|"A" E4 "D"D2 z2|
w:Run like the de-vil from the ex-cise man. Keep the smoke from ri-sing, Bar-ney.

%%textfont Times-Roman 20
%%begintext center

The Hills Of Connemara
%%endtext
%%textfont Times-Roman 18
%%multicol start
%%leftmargin 2.0cm
%%rightmargin 2cm
%%begintext obeylines
Keep your eyes well peeled today
The excise men are on their way
Searching for the mountain tay
In the hills of Connemara.

Swinging to the left, swinging to the right
The excise men will dance all night
Drinkin’ up the tay till the broad daylight
In the hills of Connemara.

Chorus
%%endtext
%%multicol new
%%leftmargin 10.5cm
%%rightmargin 2cm
%%begintext
A gallon for the butcher and a quart for John
And a bottle for poor old Father Tom
Just to help the poor old dear along
In the hills of Connemara.

Stand your ground, for it’s too late
The excise men are at the gate.
Glory be to Paddy, but they’re drinkin’ it straight
In the hills of Connemara.

Chorus (Twice)
%%endtext

The Hills Of Connemara, X:2

I was listening to Gaelic Storm’s version of this tune and thought to grab a setting of it to work on (after 50+ years of guitar, I took up Irish Bouzouki and Banjo about a year ago) and found that was only one setting of the reel and it didn’t match what I had listened to. So, I thought I’d give it a go. This is my transcription of the first 16 bars of the tune (the instrumental bit) It’s also my first time working in ABC.

Re: The Hills Of Connemara

Hi, GLMoser!

What you have there is this: https://thesession.org/tunes/441

As per Kemtri98’s comment above, the tunes are sometimes played together.

Posted by .

Re: The Hills Of Connemara

Hi, muspc..

Thanks for that. So the bit that I have transcribed is not actually "Hills," and really John Ryan’s? Or is it just another name.. like all the other names?

Re: The Hills Of Connemara

The music you transcribed is the polka (though you’ve put into 4/4 instead of 2/4). That’s why, as you stated, your transcription doesn’t match this tune.

Posted by .

Re: The Hills Of Connemara

I know this tune as "The Forty Pound Float". Usually with "Denis Murphy’s Polka" as first in a set of three and the last ….."After the Battle of Aughrim". Good rollicking medley, even better with with accompanying harmony line.

Re: The Hills Of Connemara

It’s also used for the song Coulter’s Candy in Scotland.
Wikipedia says this:
"Coulter’s Candy", also known as "Ally Bally" or "Ally Bally Bee", is a Scottish folk song.

It was written by a former Galashiels weaver, Robert Coltard (1832–1880). He died of a brain tumour [1] and was buried in an unmarked ("pauper’s") grave in Eastlands Cemetery, in Galashiels. The song was an advertising jingle for the aniseed-flavoured sweets that he manufactured in Melrose and sold around the markets of the Border towns.[2] The recipe is no longer known, but the song lived on. In 1958 a letter to The Weekly Scotsman reported that a man remembered hearing it from his grandmother, who in turn had learned the song in around 1845. It was collected in a children’s playground in 1964 by James T. Ritche, who published it in a book called The Singing Street.

However, Norman Buchan published it earlier in 101 Scottish Songs, Collins, 1962. He states there: "This song probably produced more correspondence than any other when I printed it in ‘The Weekly Scotsman’ a few years ago. Robert Coultart - the ‘Coulter’ of the song - made and sold his own candy round all the country fairs and markets in the Borders…………..etc. I first heard it from Scots actor, playwright and folk singer Roddy McMillan." He also added one of the verses.

The word bawbee refers to a halfpenny coin.

Lyrics[edit]
Ally bally, ally bally bee,
Sittin’ on yer mammy’s knee,
Greetin’ for a wee bawbee, (crying) (a halfpenny)
Tae buy some Coulter’s candy. (to)

Poor wee Jeanie’s gettin’ awfy thin, (awfully)
A rickle o’ banes covered ower wi’ skin, (bones) (over)
Noo she’s gettin’ a wee double chin, (now)
Wi’ sookin’ Coulter’s Candy. (sucking)

Mammy gie’s ma thrifty doon, (give) (money box) (down)
Here’s auld Coulter comin’ roon’, (old) (around)
Wi’ a basket on his croon, (with) (crown/head)
Selling Coulter’s Candy.

Ally bally, ally bally bee,
When you grow old, a man to be,
you’ll work hard and you’ll sail the seas,
an’ bring hame pennies for your faither and me,
Tae buy mair Coulter’s Candy. " (more) "

Coulter he’s a affa funny man, (very)
He mak’s his candy in a pan, (makes)
Awa an greet to yer ma, (away) (cry) (your)
Tae buy some Coulters candy. (to)

Little Annie’s greetin’ tae,
Sae whit can puir wee Mammy dae, (so) (what) (poor) (do)
But gie them a penny atween them twae, (between) (two)
Tae buy mair Coulter’s Candy.


The following verse is also sung, at least in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire since before the 1920s:

Coulter’s Candy, a penny a lump,
‘At’s i’ stuff tae mak ye jump. (that’s) (the) (to) (make) (you)
If ye jump you’re sure tae fa’, (you) (to) (fall)
Coulter’s Candy, a penny fur a’ (for) (all)

Covers and parodies[edit]
Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor sang it on their "Scottish Choice" LP, Decca ACL1065, 1961. All the verses in this version, except one, were written by Robin.

In spite of the fact that Coltart was long dead and the sweets no longer in existence, the BBC originally had the song played as ‘Sugar Candy’, on the grounds that ‘Coulter’s Candy’ was advertising.

It was recorded by Donovan on HMS Donovan (1971). Canadian singer Catherine McKinnon also recorded a version of the song on her album Voice Of An Angel.

Hamish Imlach recorded a parody version, where a buyer complains about the poor quality of the candy. The song was also parodied on BBC Radio Scotland, by comedy group Flying Pig Productions in their show Desperate Fishwives, who related the song to the stereotypically poor Scottish diet.

A version by Scottish folk singer Watt Nicoll was commissioned by Allyballybees Ltd of Abington, South Lanarkshire, to promote their "Coulter’s Candy" product and other confectionery. The song contained extra "New" and "Lost" verses.

A version of the song was released by The Kerries in 1967 on Major Minor 45 MM541, the song was produced by Tommy Scott.

Dawn Steele sang part of the song towards the end of Monarch of the Glen season 2 finale episode.

The Irish Rovers sang this song on one of their live recordings in the late 1960s. Between the song’s verses were spoken, poetic reminiscences about childhood.

Re: The Hills Of Connemara

@ Ampocarbuile, I am glad someone else recognised this! There are a lot of tunes on here I remember from my childhood, and my heritage is Scots, not Irish, so I know them as traditional Scottish songs and dances, but I’m not familiar enough with ABC to attempt to transcribe the versions I know, or half remember, and add them to the archives.