The Gravel Walks reel

Also known as Asphalt Walk, Barty’s Choice, Grannie’s Gravel Walks, Gravel Path To Granny, The Gravel Path To Granny’s, Gravel Walk, The Gravel Walk To Grania’s, The Gravel Walk To Granny’s, The Gravel Walk, The Gravel Walk, The Gravel Walks To Granie, Gravel Walks To Grannie, The Gravel Walks To Grannie, Gravelwalk, The Gravelwalks, Na Cosáin Ghriothail, Walk To Grania’s.

There are 112 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Gravel Walks appears in 3 other tune collections.

The Gravel Walks has been added to 199 tune sets.

The Gravel Walks has been added to 2,379 tunebooks.

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Nine settings

X: 1
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A2 eA (3cBA eA|A2 eA BAGB|A2 eA (3Bcd ef|gedc BAGB:|
A2 aA gAfA|A2 eA BAGB|A2 aA gAfA|gedc BAGB|
A2 aA gAfA|A2 eA BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB|
|:(3cBA BG A2 AB|cAAd BAGB|(3cBA BG ABcd|efge dBGB:|
|:c2 gc acgc|c2 gc BAGB|c2 gc acga|gedc BAGB|
c2 gc acgc|c2 gc BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB:|
X: 2
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G2dG BGdG|~G2Bd cAFA|1 (3GGGdG Bcde|fdcB cAFA:|2 ~G2Bc dfeg|fdcA GABc||
d~g3 bgaf|dggf d2cA|d~g3 bgag|fdcA GABc|
d~g3 bgaf|dggf defg|abag (3fga fe|defd cAFA||
X: 3
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A2 eA ^c/B/A eA|A2 eA BAGB|A2 eA B/^c/d ef|gedc BAGB:|
A2 aA gAfA|A/A/A eA BAGB|A/A/A aA gAfA|gedc BAGB|
A2 aA gAfA|A/A/A eA BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB||
|:c/B/A BG A2 AB|cAAd BAGB|c/B/A BG ABcd|efge dBGB:|
|:c2 gc acgc|c/c/c gc BAGB|c2 gc acga|gedc BAGB|
c2 gc acgc|c/c/c gc BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB||
# Added by Tate .
X: 4
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:"Am"A2 eA (3cBA eA|A2 eA "G"BAGB|"Am"A2 eA (3Bcd ef|"G"gedc BAGB:|
"Am"A2 aA gAfA|A2 eA "G"BAGB|"Am"A2 aA gAfA|"G"gedc BAGB|
"Am"A2 aA gAfA|A2 eA "G"BAGB|"Am"ABcd efga|"G"gedc BAGB|
|:"Am"(3cBA BG A2 AB|cAAd "G"BAGB|"Am"(3cBA BG ABcd|"G"efge dBGB:|
|:"C"c2 gc acgc|c2 gc "G"BAGB|"C"c2 gc acga|"G"gedc BAGB|
"C"c2 gc acgc|c2 gc "G"BAGB|"Am"ABcd efga|"G"gedc BAGB:|
X: 5
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
{AB}A2eA {c}BAeA|(3AAA ed BA[GA]B|{AB}A2eA {c}BAeA|fage dBGB:|
(3AAA aA gAfA|(3AAA ae {c}BA[GA]B|(3AAA aA gAfA|fage dBGB|
(3AAA aA gAfA|(3AAA ae {c}BA[GA]B|ea (3aaa a^ge^g|afge dBGB||
X: 6
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A2eA cAeA|A/A/A eA BAGB|{G}A2 eA B/c/d ef|gedc BA G/A/B:|
A2aA gAfA|A/A/A eA BAGB|A2aA gAfa|~g3e dBGE|
G~A3 gAfA|A/A/A eA BAGE|ABcd egf/g/a|gedc BAGB|
|:c2AG ~A3B|c~E3 BGBd|cDBD ~A3f|~g3e dBGB:|
|:c2gc acgc|c/c/c gc BAGB|Bcgc acga|gedc BAGB|
c2gc Acgc|c/c/c gc BAGB|ABcd egf/g/a|gedc BAG/A/B:|
X: 7
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A2 eA (3cBA eA|A2 ed BAGB|A2 eA (3Bcd ef|gedc BAGB:|
A2 aA gAfA|A2 ed BAGB|A2 aA gAfA|gedc BAGB|
A2 aA gAfA|A2 ed BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB|
|:(3cBA BG A3 B|cAAd BGBd|(3cBA BG ABcd|efge dBGB:|
c2 gc acgc|c2 gc BAGB|c2 gc acga|gedc BAGB|
c2 gc acgc|c2 gc BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB||
X: 8
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:"Am"A2 eA BA eA|A2 eA "G"BA GB|"Am"A2 eA B/c/d ef|"C"ge dc "G"BA GB:|
"Am"A2 aA gA fA|~A2 eA "G"BA GB|"Am"A2 aA gA fa|"C"ge dc "G"BA GB|
"Am"A2 aA gA fA|~A2 eA "G"BA GB|"Am"AB cd ef ga|"C"ge dc "G"BA GB||
|:"Am"cA AG A3 B|cA ~A2 "G"dB GB|"Am"cA AG A2 B/c/d|"C"ef ge "G"dB GB:|
"C"c2 gc ac gc|~c2 gc "G"BA GB|"C"c2 gc ac ga|ge dc "G"BA GB|
"C"c2 gc ac gc|"C"~c2 gc "G"BA GB|"Am"AB cd ef ga|"C"ge dc "G"BA GB||
X: 9
T: The Gravel Walks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A2eA c/B/A eA|c/B/A ec BAGB|A2eA B/c/d ef|gedc BAGB:|
A2aA gAfA|A2ec BAGB|A2aA gAfA|gedc BAGB|
A2aA gAfA|A2ec BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB||
cAAG A2 AB|cAAd BGBd|cAAG A2ef|gedc BAGB|
cAAG A2 AB|cAAd BGBd|cAAG A2ef|gfge dBGB||
|:c2gc acgc|c2gc BAGB|c2gc acga|gedc BAGB|
c2gc acgc|c2gc BAGB|ABcd efga|gedc BAGB:|

Sixty-two comments

This is a rocking reel guaranteed to liven up any session.

The first three parts are in A dorian, with the last part in C major. This last part gives the tune a great lift.

If you can turn some of those C notes in the last part into triplets, it can sound quite good. For the other three parts, droning an A or E will generally fit (on the fiddle try playing the open E string with every open A string).

This tune is sometimes played in a set with The Boys Of Malin. The change from A major to A minor can be quite spectacular.

The Gravel Walks

This is one of my favorites. I like to play it at breakneck speed just for fun - for dancing, take it easy!

I’ve heard that the first two sections have been set in 6/8 as a jig, although I’ve never heard it.

There’s some controversy over whether the last section should be repeated. It’s a very Donegal/Scottish tune, too, and it’s not the flute players’ favorite piece either — definitely a fiddle tune!


Oh, and on the last time through, my guitar player George will usually play A instead of Am on the first part. I love the way that sounds!

Key change

I was going to comment that the F natural is hard to do on the keyless flute, and i noticed that the GIF missed the key change that’s in the ABC. It’s supposed to change to C major in the last part.

Last part

Well, if you play that last part exactly as it’s shown in the sheetmusic, it’ll still come out in the key of C.

There are no F naturals played in that part and consequently no need to change the key signature.

I put the change to C in the ABC notation for the benefit of ABC programs that generate chordal accompaniment.

Not for Flute Players?

I once heard the flute player from a Cleveland area band called Liafal play the bejeezus out of this one!

Repeat last part of Gravel Walks

The last part is almost always repeated in sessions and on recordings.When only played once 8bars it sounds odd to me and destroys the lift once acquired
this seems unusual are there other multipart reels where the last part is repeated?
Is it controversial as Zina says?


Any ideas what to play this tune wit - I’ve been looking forever and can’t find nything - maybe I’m justnot looking in the right place

What to play with The gravel walk

Johnny’s Wedding / Rogue’s Reel / The Gravel Walk

Maid Behind The Bar / Gravel Walk

Farewell To Erin / The Gravel Walk

Old Maid In The Garrett / Gravel Walk

Mouth of the Tobique/The Night We Had the Goats/The Gravel Walk

Jug Of Punch/Pinch Of Snuff/Jenny’s Chickens/The Gravel Walk

Sleepy Maggie/Gravel Walk/Little Beggarman

Banshee / Gravel Walk / Old Copper Plate

The Silver Spire / The Glass Of Beer / The Gravel Walk

Maggie Brown’s Favorite/Gravel Walks/Mason’s Apron

Sleepy Maggie - Gravel Walk - The High Road To Linton

Tommy Coen’s/The Sally Gardens/The Gravel Walk

Gravel Walk / The Curragh Races / Star Of Munster

Lads Of Laois/Gravel Walk/Glass Of Beer

Gravel Walk/Tamlin Reel

Rocky Road To Dublin/ Congress Reel/ Gravel Walk

Last Part

I agree with the consensus that the last part should always be played twice; it’s a great part of the tune as the change into the key of C gives it extra drive. Another 4 part reel with just one part normally played twice is College Groves but in that case it’s the first part!

Tripping up the Stairs

Gian Marco, on a various Donegal fiddler’s CD I have, Ciaran Tourish & Dermot McLaughlin play Tripping up the Stairs into the Gravel Walk, and it sounds awesome! In fact, I think that’s my favorite set on the whole CD. I just noticed that you didn’t have that in your suggested set list.


More on the third part

Breathnach lists this tune in CRE2 without the third part, as a gan ainm, which is where I first picked it up, from a flute player I used to know. Sounds quite good that way too, although those who learned it first with the third part would probably miss it.

Oops. should have said with only the first two parts. I always think of the third and fourth parts as one unit, kind of a sequel to the tune. I guess that’s because I learned them after the first two.

I first heard this from "The Blarney Lads". They played "Maid Behind the Bar" and then this.
Yep! A fiddle tune no doubt but give the guitar a blast while backing and it gives it a lovely effect.
Gonna learn it now!

Fine on flutes

This song is not just for fiddle players, it’s fine on boehm flutes, if anyone plays them.

On bagpipes

On Scottish pipes, it’s fun to play this with Andy Renwick’s Ferret.

Snow on the Hills

I was just searching the database for information on a tune I saw in Krassen’s O’Neill’s, "Snow on the Hills," and the tune name linking led me here. While the A part is the same as Gravel Walks transposed to G, the B part is completely different, and it’s an AABB. Does anyone know more about this variant?
T:Snow on the Hills, The
S:O’Neill’s (Krassen ed.) p. 115
G2dG BGdG|~G2Bd cAFA|1 (3GGGdG Bcde|fdcB cAFA:|2 ~G2Bc dfeg|fdcA GABc||
d~g3 bgaf|dggf d2cA|d~g3 bgag|fdcA GABc|
d~g3 bgaf|dggf defg|abag (3fga fe|defd cAFA||

When I was in my first band they expected me to learn every tune myself - I think they very impatiently taught me 2 really easy tunes right at the very beginning. So when I met a friend who played the fiddle, he took me through it on my flute. So this was the first tune I was ever ‘taught’.

Father Jacks Reel

We (boys on the blackstuff) have been playing a varient of this for years called father Jacks reel. Where the tune naturally pauses and the percussion stops the gaps are filled with some of Fr Jacks favourite phrases, "drink", "girls" etc….

Great stuff

Great clip from Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and Aidan O’Donnell, "Fidil," which I’ll have to buy now. Thanks to slainte.
Too much is made of which tune goes with what tune. Most tunes can follow one upon the other. With this tune, though, there is so much to it that there’s no need to play it with anything. It stands quite well on its own. Like one of the big jigs: O’Neills, or the 5 part Geese, or The Old Gray Goose.
It also "fits" right onto the concertina as well as the flute.

Does Anyone Have a Mandolin/Tenor Banjo tab for The Gravel Walks?

Hi, I’ve been searching for a 4-string tab for a reel called The Gravel Walks so I can play it on my tenor banjo, but so far I haven’t had any luck.

It does go by quite a few other names:

I’d really appreciate it if anyone could help me out with the tab.


Re: Does Anyone Have a Mandolin/Tenor Banjo tab for The Gravel Walks?

I’ve only ever heard it called The Gravel Walk
There is TAB in the "Mandolin Player’s Fakebook" I think
Perhaps it’s on

It falls very well on the mandolin/tenor banjo and isn’t too hard to work out by ear. Have a go!

Posted by .

Re: Does Anyone Have a Mandolin/Tenor Banjo tab for The Gravel Walks?

I think that one is on Nigel Gatherer’s Scottish Mandolin.

Re: Does Anyone Have a Mandolin/Tenor Banjo tab for The Gravel Walks?

Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated!

This recording is where I first heard it:

I like the way he plays but I’m finding it quite tricky to get the tune down following this tab:

Maybe the guy in the recording has put in his own ornamentation?

Also, would this be played in the jazz (CGDA) or the Irish pitch (GDAE)?

Re: Does Anyone Have a Mandolin/Tenor Banjo tab for The Gravel Walks?

I would suggest the extra effort to learn to play from straight music notation or ABC would give an enormous increase in the number of tunes you could access and learn, apart from using your ears of course. Tab needs a third party to transcribe from another notation; learn to read the dots or the ABC and you can cut out the middleman. Then you wouldn’t be needing to ask questions like your last one, because you could tell for yourself.
Have a go, it will repay all the effort !

GDAE would be better as the open A and E strings can be used a lot in the tune
But I’m sure you could find a way to make it work on CGDA

Posted by .

Thanks again for the advice, slowing starting to get the tune down. I haven’t been playing long so tab is just easier at the moment but I do plan to learn music notation as I would like to be able to transcribe tunes myself.

Whistle playing this.

Anyone got any tips for the second verse of this tune on the whistle, the bit that goes; A2 aA gA fA A2 Cos Im finding that bit impossible when trying to get down from the high A to the low A and then variate between the other following notes.

Backing Ideas for this?

Last time we played this, the guitar player (DADGAD) did the first two parts in A, then a part in D, and somethign really weird (but awesome) for the final C part. The D and the weird thign worked well— so…does anybody have suggesting for backing this? Playing a straight C doesn’t sound too good IMHO.

Gravel Walks - Traditional?????

I’m trying to establish whether Gravel Walks is a traditional tune, anyone know?


Traditional, in that I’ve never heard anyone credited with composing it, and that’s since first hearing it played by "The Boys Of The Lough" in 1974 - 36 years ago. The "Boys Of The Lough" sleeve notes say that Cathal learned the tune from Donegal fiddler Mickey Docherty.

Posted by .

A part in A mix

The most original transcription of this tune that I can find comes from the Boys of the Lough’s 1977 book called ‘Music and Song from the BOL’, where they play the A part of the tune in A mix - that is with a C# in the first measure then descending to a Cnat in the 4th measure, which gives the impression of the tune starting in A and not A dorian. This is the way I’ve always played it, but when playing in sessions the typical interpretation is as an all A minor tune with a 4th part in C.
I’ve heard the BOL play it this way a few times live, and prefer it to the all out A dorian/C maj interpretation.

Last Part

I disagree as to the playing the last part an extra time through. The setting with which I am familiar, in Sullivan’s Session Tunes, has the same number of measures in each part which is the tradition for the playing of reels except where a particular dance requires a different number of measures than what the tune normall provides. In Irish Set Dances and Scottish Country Dances there are a number of dances which require unconventional numbers of measures.; but, no one has ever identified for me one for this tune. So, unless you find a dance requiring the 4th part to be played with twice the measures of the other 3 parts go ahead and do so but not as "tradition" but as "art music".

Repeat of the last part

I disagree as well as to the repeat of the last part. I love it played in a "regular" way, as in Le Cheile’s and Matt Molloy’s recordings, posted here.
I’d like to see an example of a tune featuring that kind of repeat (and not controverted) though.

tune in the middle of Eileen Ivers’ recording?

Listening to Eileen Ivers’ track "Gravelwalk," I believe it starts with "Fermoy Lasses" and ends with "Gravelwalk," but I don’t know the name of the tune in between them that goes from 1:48 to 2:43 (viz. for audio).

Anyone recognize it?

[Apologies in advance to traditionalists offended by Irish music played on an electric fiddle run through distortion and wah-wah.]

I call it "Jack McGuire’s" - which is the name Sligo flute player Roger Sherlock gave it. They have recorded it on another CD under the title "The Noisy Curlew".

Posted by .

Re: The Gravel Walks

"Is this related to The Gravel Walks, the jig?"

"Cathal McConnell transformed the reel "The Gravel Walks" into a jig…"
Posted by JeffK627 15 years ago.

Re: The Gravel Walks

Nigel Gatherer - Argh! Thanks. I swear I read every comment. Must’ve missed the FIRST.

Re: The Gravel Walks

The Byrne brothers repeat both the second and fourth parts of this tune. Makes for a great attack the second time through on the second part.

Re: The Gravel Walks

So apparently Mickey Doherty, which according to someone in the comments above, is the source of Boys of the Lough’s version, only plays the first 2 parts on his recording "Garvan Hill". So where did the last 2 come from, and if he had them, why didn’t he play them on the recording? He spent more than enough time playing the first 2…

Re: The Gravel Walks

"Someone in the comments above" was me. The direct quote from the LP sleeve is as follows :
"Cathal has this reel from the late Micky Docherty" [sic ]. I’ll ask Cathal next time I see him.

Posted by .

Re: The Gravel Walks

Thanks Kenny. I wasn’t sure if it was you, but that makes sense. By the way that turns out to be a great record, so thanks for telling me about it.

The Gravel Walks, X:5

The version I have transcribed here is, I believe, the original source recording for most versions of this ever-popular reel. It is Mickey Doherty’s, off the "Garvan Hill" album. You’ll notice it only has two parts, and all the c notes (they’re all grace notes) are sharp. Did Doherty not have the last two parts? Or did he just not play them on this particular recording for some reason? I don’t know, but I’m very curious.

Re: The Gravel Walks

For whistle players who find this tune a challenge, if you happen to have a Mezzo G whistle, it sounds lovely on that. The tune never drops below the G, and fits well within the range of a G whistle (unlike a lot of G tunes, that go further down than G). And, for those wind players who want to encourage less playing of this tune at sessions, for less than two Guinnesses, you can buy a Generation Alto G whistle (yes, the tiny one; you know you’ve always wanted one!). It’s small enough to hide in a boot or up a sleeve, and they’ll never see it coming. You might even shatter a few windows or pint glasses, which would add a dramatic effect.

The Gravel Walks, X:6

Some variations on the flute. I remember I had a hard time learning those tricky |c2gc acgc| of the last part, but with practice it has become a piece of cake.

Re: The Gravel Walks

Ciarán Tourish and Dermot McLaughlin play Gravel Walks twice(!) on the 1991 Fiddle Sticks album of Donegal music from the Boston College festival. The first time (following Boys of Malin), they play something like Aaab agef in the penultimate bar of the 2nd and 4th parts. The second time (following Tripping Up the Stairs), they play the straight ascending scale ABcd efga, as it appears in nearly all of the settings here.

Re: The Gravel Walks

The "Fiddle Sticks" CD was recorded live in Cork at the University there, not Boston.

Posted by .

Re: The Gravel Walks

Oh right. Sorry. I forgot. It’s been so long since I looked at the CD. That whole 4 volume set was from Cork, wasn’t it? I somehow confused it with the Gaelic Roots album.