Shoe The Donkey polka

Also known as Andy Boyle’s, Ballydesmond #3, Ballydesmond Polka No. 3, Cathy’s Favorite, Cathy’s Favourite, Dan Macks, The Dargin, The Evening, Glenside No.1, The Hen Dance, Kerry, The Kerry No 1, The Kerry No. 1, The Kerry No.1, Kerry Polka #1, Kevin’s, The Mist On The Glen, Pat Horgan’s No. 1, Pat Horgan’s No.1, Pat Organs #1, Rhubarb Sandwich, The Varsouviana, The Waterford.

There are 26 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with John Ryan’s (a few times), The Lakes Of Sligo (a few times) and Dan Coakley’s (a few times).

Shoe The Donkey has been added to 19 tune sets.

Shoe The Donkey has been added to 403 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Six settings

X: 1
T: Shoe The Donkey
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D2 FA | dc BA | BE EF | GA/G/ FE |
D2 FA | dc BA | Be Bc | d2 d2 :||
eB eB | eB B>c | dA dA | dA A2 |
eB eB | eB Bc | d/c/B AF | E2 E2 :||
X: 2
T: Shoe The Donkey
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G>A Bd|gf ed|eA AB|cd/2c/2 BA|G>A Bd|gf ed|ea ef|g2 g2 :||
ae ae|ae e>f|gd gd|gd d>g|ae ae|ae e>f|ge dB|A2 A2 :||
X: 3
T: Shoe The Donkey
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G>A Bd|gf ed|eA A B|c d/2 c/2 BA|
G>A Bd|gf ed|ea ef|g2 g2:|
|:ae ae|ae e>f|gd gd|gd d>e|
ae ae|ae e>f|ge dB|A2 A2:|
X: 4
T: Shoe The Donkey
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G>A B/c/d|gf ed|eA AB|cd/c/ BA|
G>A Bd|gf ed|ea ef|g2 g2:|
ae ae|ae e>f|gd gd|gd d>e|
ae ae|ae e>f|g/f/e dB|A2 A2:|
|:D>E FA|dc BA|BE EF|GA/G/ FE|
D>E F/G/A|dc BA|Be Bc|d2 d2:|
|:eB eB|eB B>c|dA dA|dA A>B|
eB eB|eB B>c|d/c/A AF|E2 E2:|
|:A>B ce|ag fe|fB Bc|d2 cB|
A>B ce|ag fe|fb fg|a2 a2:|
bf bf|bf f>g|ae ae|ae ef/g/|
bf bf|b/a/g f>g|af ec|B2 B2:|
X: 5
T: Shoe The Donkey
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: G>A Bd | gf ed | eA AB | cd/c/ BA |
G>A Bd | gf ed | ea ef | g2 g2 :|
|: ae ae | ae e>f | gd gd | gd d2 |
ae ae | ae ef | ge dB | A2 A2 :|
X: 6
T: Shoe The Donkey
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
K:G
"G"G3/2A/2 Bd|"G"gf ed|"Am"eA AB|"D7"cd/2c/2 BA|"G"G3/2A/2 Bd|"Em"gf ed|\
"Am"ea "D7"ef|"G"g4::
"Am"ae ae|"Am"ae e3/2f/2|"G"gd gd|"G"gd d3/2^g/2|"Am"ae ae|"Am"ae e3/2f/2|\
"G"ge "Em"dB|"Am"A2 A2:|

Fifty comments

I learned this tune from AOG (aka Tony Guitierres (sp)) at a local session. Last week I played it with Jack Wright & asked him for the name of the tune, he told me it was called "Cathy’s Favorite" while I poked him with my bow & called "A-Hole!!". Jack was the author of the "Anyone who knows the name of a polka is an A-Hole"-rule. that was mentioned at the session.org before. Anywho it’s a good li’l polka.
With love from RI

I

This one will forever have a place of honour in my repertoire being the first Irish dance tune that I ever learned, around 1980 or 81, from a young lady who had learned it during her first trip to Ireland. She also has a place of honour in my memory because she was a lot of help when I was looking for my first fiddle.
And it is the first tune that I ever tried writing down, counting note names with the help of my fingers and making all sorts of mistakes, stems on the wrong side of the head and the like…

It was simply called "Kerry Polka" then (at that time I didn

Ballydesmond Polka

There are already two polkas of this title on the site and we refer to this one as number 3 when playing it in session. It follows nicely after The Britches Full of Stitches and John Ryan’s (sometimes referred to as the Armagh Polka).

Sliabh Luchra being quite a small area (considering the amount of good music that has come out of it), there are only so many place names and players after which to name tunes. Consequently, there are an awful lot of polkas and slides with names like Ballydesmond, Newmarket, Denis Murphy’s and Padraig O’Keefe’s. Fortunately, this one has another name - Cathy’s Favourite. I’ve no idea who Cathy was, but I approve of her taste in polkas.

When played in G, this is known as Kevin’s Polka.

Posted by .

Shoe the Donkey

I have it listed under Kerry polkas, but feel sure it’s also called something else!
We play it with a barndance called the Barnyards of Dalgetty.

Although it looks easy, I find it’s hard to get that authentic Sliabh Luachra lift to it.

I have this version as well and I play it for a dance with Mushin Durkin, though it could work with the barnyards of dalgetty

there is more than one way to shoe a donkey, you can put shoes on it or go shoo, shoo!

It sounds like a completely different tune to the mazurka version that I know

I’ve known this one in three keys:

K:Ador (G)
|:G>A B/c/d|gf ed|eA AB|cd/c/ BA|
G>A Bd|gf ed|ea ef|g2 g2:|
ae ae|ae e>f|gd gd|gd d>e|
ae ae|ae e>f|g/f/e dB|A2 A2:|

K:Edor (D)
|:D>E FA|dc BA|BE EF|GA/G/ FE|
D>E F/G/A|dc BA|Be Bc|d2 d2:|
|:eB eB|eB B>c|dA dA|dA A>B|
eB eB|eB B>c|d/c/A AF|E2 E2:|

K:Bdor (A)
|:A>B ce|ag fe|fB Bc|d2 cB|
A>B ce|ag fe|fb fg|a2 a2:|
bf bf|bf f>g|ae ae|ae ef/g/|
bf bf|b/a/g f>g|af ec|B2 B2:|

I’ve used the same basic version of this melody with only a few variations…

It would be interesting, to me, to find out how it got this name Susie-Lee? Did you get it from a collection or did someone teach it to you by the name "Shoe the Donkey". If by getting that Sliabh Luachra lift you mean trying to sing any of the usual lyrics associated with the title and the Varsovienne to this polka, you’re right - damned near impossible… I did try…

NOTE: ‘The Newmarket’/’Dan Mack’s’ link given above, #330, is given as just an example, of my screw up. I was transcribing another version of it and my brain misfired. While you can see some similarities in structure they are different tunes…

This is definitely not "Shoe the Donkey" but a fairly well known Kerry polka. I’ve always considered it to be the Ballydesmond No 3 but it’s also known as Andy Boyle’s.

Toormore?

I agree with you there, Bannerman. I seem to recall "Bulmer & Sharpley" had it in one of their books, Vol.#4, maybe, as one of two "Toormore" polkas, but I could be wrong. Never heard it called "Shoe The Donkey", though.

Posted by .

Delgaty

…and Susie-Lee - while they may well have barndances in Dalgetty, the song is "The Barnyards O’Delgaty", for instance as sung by Jock Duncan [Gordon’s father ].

Posted by .

Half a Dozen names at least:

Here’s just a few samples of other notaries:

"Music of Ireland: Volume 3"
Bulmer & Sharpley, 1976
ISBN 0-9503784
page 29/tune 80: Kerry No.1 (1 sharp - #)

"An Pota Stór: The Set Dance Music of West Kerry"
ed. Feargal Mac Amhlaoibh
page 30/tune 42: Cathy’s Favourite/Pat Horgan’s No. 1

"Mally Presents 100 Polkas"
ed. Dave Mallinson, 1997
ISBN 1-899512-21-7
page 36/tune 91: The Kerry No. 1

"110 Ireland’s Best Polkas and Slides"
Walton Music, 1999
ISBN 1-85720-086-1
page 23/tune 53: Andy Boyle’s

- also known as "Angela’s Polka" and someone else knows it as "Kevin’s"…

https://thesession.org/tunes/531

Forgot another name for it: Seamus Cussen’s No.2

Ballydesmond #3 is usually taken as:

https://thesession.org/tunes/239

since at least the 70s, in the US & Eire, but use and abuse and failing memories always collects more names. ‘Gan Ainm’ and a non-functioning memory attracts speculation. So maybe in parts of England they’ve chosen to call this ‘Shoe the Donkey’…

Shoe the Donkey

I learnt this by ear, not knowing it’s name, but later found the dots in a ‘Folkways’ publication which I no longer have.

One of the Ballydesmond polkas sounds much more likely as a name. So, will now go and see if I can find which one for sure!
Sue

Definitely not one of those three taken as ‘The Ballydesmond Polkas’…

"Matt Cunningham’s Dance Music of Ireland"
Dave Mallinson Publications, 1999
ISBN 1-899512-45-4
page 26: The Kerry no. 1

Shoe the Donkey

Dave Mallinson’s 100 Irish polkas on page 36, sure sounds the same, apart from the usual artistic license and the time signature.

I have hopefully amended the offending third and fourth bars of the A part!!

Sue

Susie has just confirmed the source for the name confusion:
"The Folkworks Session Collection: Volume 2" (of 3)
"Extending your repertoire David Oliver (CD with booklet £8.00 +£1p&p) 22 more tunes - same format as Volume 1."

Another similar version

This sounds alot like Jack Mitchell’s Polka and sounds great in a group with egans.

Another name

Very similar to ‘Dan Sullivan’s Rock Swing Band no 1’ - which came first? Shoe the Donkey I suspect.

Triplicated ~ is that all?

"The Newmarket Polka"
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on October 15th 2001 by J?Fr?/a>.
https://thesession.org/tunes/330

|: DF AF/A/ | dc Bc | EF ~

I’d say that’s a different tune, ‘c’.

NOT “Shoe the Donkey”!

"Shoe the Donkey" was a misprint, or screw-up, in that old Folkways booklet. I remember being told about this sometime back but had forgotten. It wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened…

“The Varsouviana” it ain’t ~ NO WAY!!!

This is in 2/4, a polka, and the form ‘The Varsovienne’ is in 3/4 and closely tied to mazurkas, being a form of that… :-/

Shoeing donkeys

The dance "Shoe the Donkey" is a mazurka (3/4)

A smith would shoe a donkey by holding the hoof to be shoed across and in front of the supporting leg (cross the buckle)

This is the starting position for the mazurka step so the Irish called the Varsoviana "Shoe the Donkey".

In the south (say Sliabh Luachra), for some reason it’s known as "Fr Halpin’s top coat"

:-/ Yes Mark, it is a different tune… I’m not sure what I was thinking, unless it was sets… "The Newmarket Polkas"…

I think that’s a different tune ceol! :-D Wake up!!!

Well, hell’s bells, it is, but there are some similarities that might suggest a distant relation, maybe a second cousin?

They have quirky similarities… :-D

1st part: DMaj
2nd part: Emin, sounds better.

Never heard it played that way, but after giving it a try I prefer it with all the Cs sharp… Didn’t like it at all as e minor, with C naturals in the B-part, just weird… :-P

“Shoe the Donkey” ~ dance and tunes, the 3/4 Varsovienne is over here ~

Submitted on December 29th 2003 by Aidan Crossey.
https://thesession.org/tunes/2320

& here ~

Submitted on April 3rd 2009 by ceolachan.
https://thesession.org/tunes/9499

And any other varsovienne can be used for the dance… This polka ain’t either. It’s not the 3/4 tune! It’s not the dance!

Cathy’s Favourite polka

I learned this from fiddler/banjoist Celine Donoghue from Glasgow, who called it "The Glenside No.1". It goes with what she called "The Glenside No.2": https://thesession.org/tunes/534

Other versions and titles

Roche and Giblin both printed this tune in 1927 and 1928 respectively. Both have no title and are the same versions so perhaps Giblin was copying from Roche.

It appears in four different manuscripts from the Leitrim/Longford area. The Bernard Rogers MS c.1895-1905 has it entitled "The Waterford Polka". The Stephen Grier MS c.1883 just calls it "Polka" while the Larry Smyth MS c.1880s-1920s entitles his as "The Dargin Polka". The Terence Reilly MS entitles it as "The Evening Polka"! it would be interesting to find out where it originally came from and what its original title was before entering the folk tradition.

Cathy’s Favourite, X:3

Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK.

Rhubarb Sandwich

Have heard this tune a fair bit around the Ontario Canada area, but can’t remember specifically where. In a Google search it shows up in ABC notation in a number of places, and in a number of tune books, but with no indication of the origin.

Re: Shoe The Donkey

The phrase "Shoe the Donkey" fits the rhythm of the first bar of this tune, in the same way that the phrase "Father Halpin’s Topcoat" fits the first part of Varsovianna. It has no connection with the English tune "Shave the Donkey" which gets its name in the same way!

Re: Shoe The Donkey

Every piece on YouTube that bears the title "Shoe The Donkey" sounds pretty close to what we folks in Texas call the dance "Put Your Little Foot". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1zxZ0wWUcs

Here’s a version of "Shoe The Donkey" dance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAaLMlPb_IE

No where on YouTube is there a version of "Shoe The Donkey" like the one listed on this forum. Not saying it’s wrong, but I had "The Ballydesmond Polka #3 listed in a set and somehow it magically changed to the Donkey melody.