Charlie O’Neill’s strathspey

Also known as Charlie O’Neill’s Highland Fling, Donegal, Donegal Highland, The Donegal Highland, Glasha Highland.

There are 11 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Charlie O’Neill’s appears in 1 other tune collection.

Charlie O’Neill’s has been added to 9 tune sets.

Charlie O'Neill's has been added to 151 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Charlie O'Neill's
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|(3gag fg (3BBB BA|G2 ag fdef|(3gag fg (3BBB BA|GBdc BGBd|
(3gag fg (3BBB BA|G2 ag fdcA|GBdB cdef|gbaf g3 A||
# Added .
X: 2
T: Charlie O'Neill's
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|B3d A3B|defd ed (3Bcd|B3d A3f|1 af e2 d3A:|2 af e2 d3e||
fgaf g2 bg|afdf edBA|fgaf g2 bg|af e2 d3de|
fgaf g2 bg|afdf edBA|B3d A3f|af e2 d3A||
X: 3
T: Charlie O'Neill's
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
{c}B>E B2 cBc>A | {c}B>EB2 cBc>A | {c}B>E B2 cdc>B | Ad{e}dc B>G G2:|
g2 f>g B3 A | Ga{B}ag fdef | g2 fg B3 A | Gd{e}dc BG {A}G2 |
g2 fg B3A | Ga{b}bg fdef | G>BdB cde>f | gb (3agf g4 |]

Seventeen comments

Charlie O’Neill’s

Altan calls this "Donegal Highland" on Island Angel and The First Ten Years, but in the liner notes they attribute it to the playing of Charlie O’Neill, "a fiddler from Ardara, County Donegal, now living in the Moy, County Tyrone." Most printed sources I’ve seen don’t quite match Altan’s setting, but give the tune as Charlie O’ Neill’s.

Altan’s set starts with the Fermanagh Highland and then drops into Charlie O’Neill’s. Lots of string crossings make this highland even more work for the bow than the first. Take it slow and deliberate, emphasizing the downbeats (but also letting this tune’s swing come through a bit more than the Fermanagh, especially in the A Part).

Posted .

Per Jeremy’s comments on labeling tunes as reels, highlands, flings, strathspeys (and barndances too), I’ll just clarify here that Altan lists this as a highland, which to me, in the Donegal style, means something of a cross between a strathspey and a reel. A highland goes much slower than a reel, with the sort of "deliberate" cadence and beat as a strathspey, but without the "scottish snap." The best way to "explain" this is to quit throwing words at the screen and let you find Altan’s Island Angel or The First Ten Years and listen to this track. 🙂

Posted .

Boys of the Lough recording

I’m looking for the version done on "To Welcome Paddy Home" which is substantially different than this version. Is that one known by another name?


Boys of the Lough recording

It’s called Donegal Highland in their recording.

Charlie O’Neill
I copied this link from a recent discussion - there’s a photo of Charlie himself in Jim Maginn’s collection of photos of traditional musicians.
"Wolfhul" - Charlie O’Neill has several tunes named after him, as he’s been a source of tunes for traditional musicians for many years. I don’t recall "The Boys Of The Lough" ever recording this particular tune. I think I may still have "Welcoming Paddy Home" somewhere - I’ll have a listen if I can find it, and get back to you.

Posted by .

Charlie O’Neill/ Donegal Highland


Thanks for posting the link. What a great site. (I have to say, though, my favorite is the Rhinos!)

In the "Boys" recording it’s the second tune after "When sick, is it tea you want?".


Boys of the Lough Version

T:Donegal Highland
T: Boys of the Lough (To Welcome Paddy Home)
|B3d A3B|defd ed (3Bcd|B3d A3f|1af e2 d3A:|2af e2 d3e||
|fgaf g2 bg|afdf edBA|fgaf g2 bg|af e2 d3de|
|fgaf g2 bg|afdf edBA|B3d A3f|af e2 d3A||

Finally BOTL version

Thank you very much arpadoro! I recently digitized the To Welcome Paddy Home album and was delighted to hear this highland swinging in its’ extreme glory once more. And now I don’t have to rely solely on my crappy musical ear to attempt playing it! Thank you!

Sorry but I can’t see the similarity there

The Donegal Reel

The tune named as the Donegal Reel, is a different tune.

Anyone know the other name for it?



Posted by .


Hi Kess - "The Donegal Reel" is "The Donegal Reel" [See below ] and has nothing whatsoever to do with this Highland known as "Charlie O’Neill’s".

The confusion is because "Altan" presumably didn’t have a name for the tune known as "Charlie O’Neill’s" when they recorded it and called it "Donegal Highland" - meaning "A" "highland" from Co. Donegal, and not "THE" Donegal highland".
Incidentally, the tune posted above by "arpadoro" 2 years ago has nothing whatsoever to do with the tune posted originally 11 years ago. Both "wolfhul" and "Arpadoro" made a mistake in thinking that because the "Boys Of The Lough" recorded a tune called "Donegal Highland" that it was the same as the first tune above. It’s nothing of the sort — they are 2 completely different tunes.
I’m half minded to remove "Donegal" from the title list above, which would end the confusion, but I ‘m not going to because some people get snotty about it. But I’ll absolutely guarantee that the great majority of the 40 "Recordings of a tune by this name" will actually be playing "The Donegal Reel", and not "Charlie O’Neill’s".
Hope this clears things up for you.

Posted by .

Charlie O’Neill’s, X:3

This begins in Bmin and moves to Gmaj. Collected with the title Donegal Highland. Taken from ‘A Fine Selection of Over 200 Irish Traditional Tunes for Sessions’, compiled by David Speers with a Forward by Matt Cranitch.

Re: Charlie O’Neill’s

"This begins in Bmin …. " Don’t think so.

Posted by .

Re: Charlie O’Neill’s

E min maybe, but lands on G by end of first line.