After some badgering by a friend of mine, I decided to apply myself and learn this tune and so visited the session’s tunes database to download. Surprised not to find it here, so I went to Matt Cranitch’s fiddle book and set his version out here in abc. I know some people think that that’s not quite in the spirit of the place, but quite frankly, my dear … we’d have to wait a while before I make the tune my own and set out how I go about playing it. Is it fair to keep such a good tune away from people in the meantime?
Pretty Peggy Morrissey
I learned this tune several years ago, from Fintan Vallely’s TIMBER Flute Tutor (p.22).
He only listed it as HORNPIPE. I was told once it was called The Plains of Boyle #2, but found no corroboration as to that. Two weeks ago I was browsing tunes on the Kyrie/Helga site, and found it as Pretty Peggy Morrissey! I usually play it followed by McGibbney’s Hornpipe, then sometimes by The Plains of Boyle #1. I’m glad someone else is playing it, since I’m the only one that I’ve heard play it. It is a lovely tune that I wish were more widely played.
Pretty Maggie Morrisey
I’ve played this for years now - so long, I can’t remember who I learned it from. When I launched into it at a house session last June, Brian Conway and Felix Dolan leapt right to it (they were visiting, on their way to teach at the Montana Fiddle Camp). Brian said afterward that he’s very fond of the tune, and mentioned it being played by Coleman.
I play it more as a reel than a hornpipe, though I like to put it in a set between Dance of the Honeybees and Kitty’s Wedding. Here’s a stab at notating how it might come out on my fiddle:
T:Pretty Maggie Morrissey
Bc|:dBGB cAFA|DGGF GABc|d~g3 efge|dBGB A2 Bc|
|dBGB cAFA|DGG/G/F GABc|d~g3 ecAF|GBAF G2 Bc:||
|:d~g3 efge|degd e2 Bc|d~g3 efge|dBGB A2 Bc|
|dBGB cAFA|DGAF GABc|dgfg ecAF|GBAF G2 Bc:||
It goes about the same on banjo, with triplets where the rolls are indicated. I especially like the "degd e2…" bit in the 2nd bar of the B part.
Thanks for the alternative setting, Will. I’ll give it a lash soon! CH … I think this is a fairly well-known hornpipe. Several of the regulars at our local sesh have it and once I’ve got it a bit more fluent, I’ll have it myself!
I know this as the Wexford Hornpipe. Popular in both Hughes and the Cobblestone
Pretty Maggie Morrissey
Been playing this lovely hornpipe for years, and usually follow it with ‘The Honeysuckle’, another hornpipe that is listed in the session, which seems to follow on nicely
The famous piper Leo Rowsome called this the Wexford hornpipe, after his family’s home county, and it is under this title pipers inevitably call it. The Pretty M.M. title seems to have been more in use in America - the piping of Tom Busby on this tune was transcribed in An Piobarie, the journal of Na Piobari Uilleann, and he called it by this title, saying it was popular with the old timers. Michael Coleman called it "O’Neill’s," also.
It is a beautiful tune, one of those hornpipes with lots of scope for rolls (in the seond part, on the high G) too.
Having played this for a few days (Octave Mandola and mandolin) to get it under my fingers ready for the next session, I tend towards the following setting:
|:Bc|dBGB cAFA|(3GFG (3AGF GABc|dg (3gfg efge|dBGB (3AAA Bc|
dBGB cAFA|(3GFG (3AGF GABc|dg (3gfg ecAF|(3GFG (3AGF GA:|
|:Bc|dg (3gfg eg (3gfg|dg (3gfg eg (3gfg|dg (3gfg efge|dBGB (3AAA Bc|
dBGB cAFA|(3GFG (3AGF GABc|dg (3gfg ecAF|(3GFG (3AGF G2:|
The Wexford Hornpipe
I looked out my copy of Leo Rickard’s "Pure Piping", where he pairs "The Wexford Hornpipe" with "The High Level Hornpipe". And the first tune is indeed the same as that set out here as Pretty Maggie Morrissey.
You’ve done a great service by posting this before you "made it your own." This was the first tune I ever learned, when I bought my first folk flute. It was the second tune in a book I later lost. Later, when I introduced it to friends in a band I was in, we didn’t know the name, so we dubbed it "#2 in the book." Every time we performed it, that’s what we told people it was called.
I learned this tune as Hennessy’s after an early fifties duet recording by Joe Derrane & Jerry O’Brien (with the Stack of Barley). A very interesting version of this was recorded by Pete Conlon (D) under the title McCarthy’s(?).
This tune is from Padraig O’Keeffe’s tune book which he used with his students in Co. Kerry. I have not found any other hornpipe called the "Donneybrook Fair" . I suspect that the tune has another name. Can anyone provide an alternate name for this tune?