Ríl An Spidéil reel

By Charlie Lennon

Also known as Ril An Spideal, Spidal, Spiddal.

There are 10 recordings of this tune.

Ríl An Spidéil has been added to 16 tune sets.

Ríl An Spidéil has been added to 76 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Ríl An Spidéil
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
AF F2 dFBF|ABdf eB B2|gfge fa a2|1 ABde fddB:|2 ABde fdde||
|:f2 df afde|fgaf geeg|f2 df a2 fa|ABde fdde|
f2 df afde|fgaf geef|g3 b af f2|1 e2 ag efde:|2 e2 ag ed d2||
# Added by Kenny .
X: 2
T: Ríl An Spidéil
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:AF F2 dFBF|ABdf eB B2|AF F2 dFAF|E3D EFGB|
AF F2 dFBF|ABdf eB B2|g3e fa a2|1 ABde fddB:|2 ABde fdde||
|:f2 df afde|fgaf ge e2|f2 df afdB|ABde fdde|
f2 df afde|fgaf ge e2|g3 b af f2|1 e2 ag efde:|2 e2 ag ed d2||
# Added by JACKB .

Twelve comments

Spiddal reel

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - the man’s a genius. Another gem from the pen of Charlie Lennon. I was very surprised it’s not here. I first heard this at an Edinburgh Folk festival, played by the O’Brien brothers from Dublin who were over with the Clontarf branch of Comhaltas. I think Charlie had just recently composed this and “The Twelve Pins”, and the 2 usually go together. “De Danann” brought them both out on “Anthem” the following year.

Posted by .

Charlie published this tune in his first volume. I’m hesitant to just post the tunes from it though otherwise I would have posted it here long ago. I love this tune and have played it for years.

Which one usually comes first? This or the Twelve Pins?

Nice one…

I really like Charlie’s tunes. Thanks for this one Kenny.

Craig (Adelaide)…p.s Did you get my emails?


Up to yourself, really, Dow, but the O’Briens played this one first followed by “The Twelve Pins”, and so did “De Danann” when they recorded them.
I also heard a recording of Charlie & Frankie Gavin playing it together at a concert, and they started with “Ril An Spideal”.
Craig - I did get the e-mails. Sorry I haven’t replied sooner ,but will in the next day or so. Best wishes.

Posted by .

Volume 2 ?

P.S - Jack you said Charlie’s “first volume” - does that mean there’s a second [ or more ? ].

Posted by .

Volume 2

Charlie called his book of tunes “volume 1”. He is always on the verge of publishing volume 2. He told me that the problem with putting it out was something to do with the perfecting of the piano accompaniments for the tunes, which he never quite had time to finish.

Is Frankie Gavin playing this on a 5 string? It can’t be a normal fiddle.

I am trying to figure out how he is playing this on the Anthem album. He is playing it in E flat but very low. I have tuned my fiddle strings to Eb, Bb, F, C (G,D,A,E) and still can’t play the low D that he plays. Any ideas on how he is tuned or maybe it is a 5 string fiddle (or dare I say, a viola) ??
Great set!! Love when the bouzouki enters, magic!


Hi Sean - Frankie Gavin plays this reel on viola on “Anthem” - I’m 99% certain of that. I have a tape somewhere of Frankie and Charlie Lennon playing a gig somewhere in Ireland in the 80s, I think, when Frankie asks the audience to “shush” a bit so they can “hear this expensive viola”, before they played this reel. The “Anthem” sleeve notes also say that Frankie plays viola on the that recording, so I think it’s fairly safe to assume that it’s a viola being played on this track.

Posted by .

Frankie on viola!


Would you believe that I actually tried to tune down but when I heard that low 7th note in Ril an Spideal, I said “No way, that HAS to be a viola!” Haha. Thank you for the clarification. Its a wonderful set. and it sounds great on viola and fiddle! 🙂

Re: Ril An Spideal

Best recording of this I have heard is by Johnny O’Halloran on his album But Why Johnny. He actually calls it the twelve pins but that is usually played after this tune