The Mills are Grinding (reel)
East Galway tune originally recorded by The Ballinakill Traditional Players in the 1920’s. I’ve been listening to the tune on Stephen Moloney’s grandson Sean Moloney’s recording "Potsticks," then suddenly realised a slightly different version of it is on another lovely recording "The Smoky Chimney" by Gerry Harrington, Eoghann O’Sullivan, and Paul de Grae, on which it’s listed as the two-part setting of "The Flowers of Limerick."
I think this is a really nice tune for beginning flute or whistle players, so keep the first version very simple. The second one is just an example of how you could play it with a bit of variation and ornamentation.
I find this to be very similar to The First House In Connaught https://thesession.org/tunes/2601. And Slainte, I’m sure you’ve already noticed that all these appear to be relatives of The Bunch Of Keys/Paddy On The Turnpike but in different modes (maj/dor/mix, see comments sections): https://thesession.org/tunes/344 https://thesession.org/tunes/338
Beat you! 😉
There are tons of similar tunes in the same key. But this one is different from any others in G.
Peter Horan and Gerry Harrington actually recorded a bit similar version of "The Flowers of Limerick" as "The Bunch of Keys" on their recent duet album "Fortune Favours the Merry." It’s a 3-part version in Gmaj!
Another East Galway musician Joe Burke recorded this on the flute! The title of his album "The Tailor’s Choice" in fact refers to Stephen Moloney.
This tune can be heard on Volume V of the IAANJ session CD series — Mike and Mary Rafferty hosting — Lesl’s transcription of this tune can also be found on the session website, www.liamhart.org/session.
I haven’t heard Mike Rafferty play this tune but believe he cites The Ballinakill Traditional Players, or The Ballinakill Ceilidh Band, as the source. For the info on the scene in East Galway in 20’s and 30’s, read the biography of Lucy Farr: http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/farr.htm
The Mills are Grinding
You can find the Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players’ old recording of the tune here: http://juneberry78s.com/sounds/ListenToIrishDance.htm
I’ve just found this is the one Paddy Keenan plays as "The Bunch of Keys" on Doublin’.
I wonder if the another title of the tune "The Flowers of Limerick" is an allusion to "The Flowers of Edinburgh": https://thesession.org/tunes/2549 The two tunes have similar openings.
According to the notes of Peter Horan and Gerry Harrington’s duet album, this reel is related to "The Ewe Wi’ The Crookit Horn": https://thesession.org/tunes/5610
Also related to the uncommon version of the Rainy Day: https://thesession.org/tunes/7228 The two tunes would make a nice set.
Flowers Of Limerick
Here’s my version
T: The Flowers of Limerick
DGGF ~G3A|BGBd cBAF|D3E ~F3G|ABcA BGAF|
DGGF ~G3A|BGBd cA~A2|d2 (3efg fdcA|1 AGFA G3E:|2 AGFA G3B||
|:dggf ~g3a|bg~g2 bgaf|~d3e ~f3g|af~f2 afge|
dggf ~g3a|bg~g2 bgaf|d2 (3efg fdcA|1 AGFA G3B:|2 AGFA G3E||
Jig version from O’Neills: “The Barronstown Races”
"The Flowers of Limerick" or "Cronin’s Favourite"" is no. 768 in O’Neills 1001. I discovered this reel after having just found "The Barronstown Races" (jig no. 248 in O’Neills 1001). "Barronstown races" is a very attactive 4 part jig version of this reel (or perhaps it’s the other way round, both were contributed by Edward Cronin of Tipperary). I think Barronstown Races is near Limerick Junction in Tipperary.
T: The Barronstown Races
B: Francis O’Neill: "The Dance Music of Ireland" (1907) no. 248
R: Double jig
F|DGG GFG|BGc BAF|DFE FEF|A2d cAF|DGA GFG|BAG Bcd|fed cAF|AGG G2:|
|:d|dgg gfg|abg fed|cBc fef|abg fed|dgg gdc|BAG Bcd|fed cAF|AGG G2:|
|:F|DGA BAG|(d/c/B)d cAG|FGA cAF|(c/B/A)c BAF|MGFG BAB|cBc dbg|fed cAF|AGG G2:|
|:d|gdg gbg|fdf (f/g/a)f|ede (e/f/g)e|dBG GAc|MBAB cBc|Mdcd eag|fed cAF|AGG G2:|
The setting I have of this on a Ceili band recording sounds a lot like the 1st and 5th parts of "Colonel Fraser’s Reel" just set in a major key.
Joe Burke’s sleeve notes from “The Tailor’s Choice” recording…
"This reel is a Ballinakill, East Galway tune first recorded by the old Ballinakill Ceili Band back in 1931. The mills referred to here are McDonnagh’s flour mills at Ballinasack Bridge".
Composed by English fiddler/mandolinist Dave Swarbrick and recorded on his 1967 LP ‘Rags, Reels & Airs’. Presumably it is named after the city in Macedonia, but there is no reference to the tune on the sleeve notes.
“The Mills Are Grinding” / “The Flowers of Limerick” / etc., etc., etc… 😀
I think this tune predates Dave Swarbrick… I learned it ages back in Ireland as "The Flowers of Limerick". This basic melody, in various keys, carries a slew of titles. It occurs in several collections that were in circulation before Swarbrick gave us his take on it. It think it’s in Ryan’s and Roche’s. I’ll dig out some of those early transcription and see what’s closest to your transcription Nigel, how Dave Swarbrick chose to take it, and if I find something useful I’ll add it here for comparison…
Paddy on the Mills are Flowers of Bunches of Keys
Ha, did Swarbrick really did try and pass this off as his own creation? That would take some real cajones as we say in America. Some semblance of it is in practically every Irish/Scottish tunebook ever published, and there are American Old Time versions of it too. The only way Dave could convince us he wrote the thing would be to whip out a birth certificate showing that he’s around 400 years old, methinks. ;)
The Mills Are Grinding, X:5
Transcribed from the playing of Brid O’Gorman - it’s on her new album, https://thesession.org/recordings/5527 . So beautiful - I heard it today and it brought tears to my eyes. She plays it one tone down (F#) but I transcribed it in the ordinary key (in fact I figure she is using a C-flute).
Brid O’Gorman’s setting
I was meaning to write she plays it in F, not F#, of course.
Re: The Mills Are Grinding
I believe this is the same tune form O’Niell’s 1850, No. 1555 named Cronin’s Favorite though the 4th section is very different.