The Few Bob hornpipe

Also known as Alistair O’Carroll’s, The Duke’s Retreat, The Five Roads, The Mysterious Number One.

There are 9 recordings of this tune.

The Few Bob appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Few Bob has been added to 11 tune sets.

The Few Bob has been added to 56 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Few Bob
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GA|:BABG EFGA|~B2 G2 G2 gf|e3d cBAG|E2 A2 A2 GA|
~BABG EF G2|~BABd efge|dcBA GABA|1 ~G2 E2 E2 GA:|2 ~G2 E2 E2 ef||
|:g3e defg|a2 d2 d2 ef|g3f efga|bdad a2 ga|
bgab abgf|edef g2 fe|dcBA GABA|1 ~G2 E2 E2 ef:|2 ~G2 E2 E2 GA||
# Added by drone .
X: 2
T: The Few Bob
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
B3G EFGA|BGBd effe|dcBA Gd c/B/A|1 GEED E2GA:|2 GEED E2 ef||
g3e defg|addc d2ef|gage dega|baag a2ga|
b2gb a2gf|edef g2fe|dcBA Gd c/B/A|GEED E2 ef:|

Nine comments

I lifted this slightly wistful little tune from Maeve Donnelly’s album… her fiddle positively rings throughout the whole tune (and album for that matter)… the closest I can manage trying to match her ornamentation on the tilde notes is to try to treat them as a long roll, even though they’re 1/8 or 1/4 notes - and that gives a reasonably close approximation of that lovely scratch / stutter. Give her a listen though… it’s utterly worth it

Posted by .

I’ve looked for it

Thanks, Greg, for submitting this tune. I’ve been looking for the dots for a few years now., since the one source I had (fiddler I used to accompany) is no longer available to play it for me.

It was crooked when he played it…

Does anyone know of a crooked version of this tune, or was it just the person playing it for me who made it so?

Alistair O’Carroll’s

Learnt this tune off Desi Wilkinson this summer in Miltown. His first part is a bit different A|B2BA BAGE| DGGF G2 Bd| etc. but the second part is more or less the same. I could be mistaken but is the key not E minor rather than G Maj?

Posted .

Another name


according to "Ceol Rince na hÉireann 2", this tune is also called " Duke’s Retreat"

The Five Roads

We know this as The Five Roads in Toronto. It came to us from Chris Langan, and is in his book.

For a long time it was thought he had written it, but it’s in O’Farrell’s vol 4 from 1805 or so as The Duke’s Retreat as well as in CRE2, so it’s certainly not a Chris tune.

Everybody gets a certain look in their eye when they play it round here.

Lovely tune indeed.


"according to "Ceol Rince na hÉireann 2", this tune is also called " Duke’s Retreat" "

You must have a different version of CRÉII - Breathnach has no name for the tune.

It’s known around west Clare as "The Few Bob" and is on An Buachaill Dreoite by Joe Ryan under that title.