The Liffey Banks reel

Also known as The Banks Of The Liffey, Colleen Ban, Colleen Bawn.

There are 39 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Shaskeen (lots of times), The Tap Room (a few times), Come West Along The Road (a few times), The Flax In Bloom (a few times) and The Graf Spee (a few times).

The Liffey Banks has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Liffey Banks has been added to 111 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: The Liffey Banks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G2 GF GBdB|~c3e g2 dc|(3BdB GB AEGE|DEGB A~E3|
|GEDE GBdB|~c3e g2 dc|(3BdB GB AEGE|1 DEGB A2 GF:|2 DEGB A2 G2||
|~g3e (3ded Bd|gabg aged|~g3e (3ded Bd|gabg a2 gf|
|~g3e (3ded Bd|gabg agef|gabg efge|dedc BcdB|
# Added .
X: 2
T: The Liffey Banks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G3F GBdB|cBcd g2 dc|B2 GB ABGE|DEGB AE3|
|GEDE GBdB|cBcd g2 dc|B2 GB ABGE|1 DEGB A2 GF:|2 DEGB AG G2||
|:g3e d2 (3Bcd|gabg aged|g3e d2 (3Bcd|gabg a2 gf|
|g3e d2 (3Bcd|gabg agef|gabg efge|dedc BcdB:||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 3
T: The Liffey Banks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|G2GF GBdB | cBcd efge | dcBG AFGE | DEGB AE~E2 |
GG ~G2 GBdB | cBcd g2dc | BG~G2 AE~E2 | DG~G2FGED |
DG~G2 DBGD | ~c3d efge | dcBG AFGE | DEGB AE~E2 |
GDB,F GBdB | cBcd g2dc | B/B/B GB AFGE | DEGB AGG2 |
~g3e d2B^c | dgbg aged | ~g3e ddBd | gab/a/g a2g2 |
a/g/f ge d2Bd | ea~a2 aged | ga b/a/g efge | ~d3c Bcdc |
X: 4
T: The Liffey Banks
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
| (3DEF |: G2 GF GBdB| cBce g2dc | BG~G2 AE~E2 | DEGB AE~E2 |
| G2GF GBdB | cBce g2dc | BG~G2 AFGE |1 DEGB AGGF :|2 DEGB AG G2||
| gfge d2Bd | dgbg aged | gfge d2Bd | dgbg abg2 |
| gfge d2Bd | dgbg aged | g2bg efge | ~d3c BcdB|

Six comments

The Liffey Banks

This is the second of two tunes in the set by Mike and Mary Rafferty from The Road From Ballinakill, as described in my comments under The Fox on the Prowl.

The Liffey Banks has never stunned me with its melody line, but the Raffertys’ version is more playable than most. On flute, Mike rolls the opening G of the first measure ( |~G3F GBdB| ) every time he comes back to it, though it’s played as written the very first time. They also play the B Part only once each time through, despite playing the A Part twice. So they do it: AABAAB To my tastes, this makes the tune a little easier on the ears since that B part is so repititve to begin with.

Mary’s accordion covers what Mike is doing on flute for that long c in the 2nd and 6th measures of the A part. C natural is not an easy note to roll on flute (though some players manage it), so he may be simply holding it for the dotted quarter not count, or "tapping" it. The roll works find on fiddle, or you could play |cBce g2 dc| for that measure.

I heard Mike and Mary in person some years ago at a music festival, and again at an after-hours session of a half dozen flutes and Brendan Begley (of Beginish fame) on button box. All of the flute players deferred to Mr. Rafferty as he swung through tune after tune in his lively but always sweet and understated East Galway style. They HAD to defer on some tunes because he and Mary were the only ones that knew them—a repertoire passed down from his father, Tom Rafferty of Ballinakill.

Posted .

I prefer the B-part played twice in this one, ending |dedc Bdef| the 1st time. It doesn’t have to sound repetitive if you play enough variations.

2 excellent banjo versions

One can be heard on Brian McGrath’s "Pure Banjo" album and an even better version can be heard here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YbF_eA6k64


The video is what I’d call "subpar" but the audio is spot on. The Liffey Banks starts about 30 seconds in. The last tune in the set is McFadden’s Handsome Daughter. Not sure what the 1st and 3rd ones are tho.

The Liffey Banks, X:3

From Michael Coleman’s old record, transcribed by David Lyth in his Irish Fiddle Styles book, Vol. 1. I’ve left out graces and bowing here, also "Version 2" which he only included the first part of.

The Liffey Banks, X:4

This version from the clip posted above of Denis and Julia Murphy from Lisheen, Gneevguilla, Co. Kerry. It’s lovely to hear the settings that they had for tunes, particularly from Denis. His version of the Morning Star, as well as numerous other session favorites that have been paved over and ironed out on the way to quicker learning and speed, are true gems and we are lucky to have access to them today.