Philip O’Beirne’s Delight reel

Also known as The Broken Bridge Highland Fling, The Broken Bridge, Irish Girl, Philip O’ Beirne’s Delight, Purty Girls Of Our Town.

There are 9 recordings of this tune.

Philip O’Beirne’s Delight appears in 1 other tune collection.

Philip O’Beirne’s Delight has been added to 1 tune set.

Philip O’Beirne’s Delight has been added to 22 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: Philip O'Beirne's Delight
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:AG|FD (3DDD FDAF|EA, (3A,A,A, EA,(3A,A,A,|FD (3DDD FDFA|(3Bcd ec d2:|
|:(3ABc|d2 eg fd (3ddd|ec (3ccc dcBA|
[1 d2 eg fd (3ddd|ec (3ccc d2:|2 ~a2 af gfeg|(3fgf ec dB||
X: 2
T: Philip O'Beirne's Delight
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
FGAF DEFD|E>A, (3A,G,A, E>A, (3A,G,A,|FGAF DEFA|(3fga ec d2:|
fddc dcdf|edcd efge|1 fddc dfaf|ec (3ABc d2 ag:|
FD (3DDD FDAF|EA, (3A,A,A, EA,(3A,A,A,|FD (3DDD FDFA|(3Bcd ec d2:|
d2 eg fd (3ddd|ec (3ccc dcBA|1 d2 eg fd (3ddd|ec (3ccc d2:|
X: 3
T: Philip O'Beirne's Delight
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
FD (3DDD FAGF|EA, (3A,A,A, EFGE|FD (3DDD FAdA|1 (3Bcd ec dBAG:|2 (3Bcd ec d2||

Forty-nine comments

Maybe someone out there

can tell me the name of this. I got this off a tape of martin wynne and lad o’beirne. It sounds similar to some other tunes, and it also sounds like it could be based off a strathspey. But I couldn’t find it anyway.

Dun’t arf sound like the single jig ‘Ask My Father’ …

In fact, it doesn’t look like a reel at all to me …

… but I could be wrong …

Nice transcription, wise assumptions, and familiar. Yes, I agree, it definitely feels to have a strathspey / highland fling behind it and I find myself playing it that way. It’s a lovely tune. Maybe my brain will find the bread crumbs back to a source, but I’ll be back to see if anyone else does. Thanks for the memory m_gavin…

Sounds like a version of the Daisy Field to me.

“The Daisy Field” ~ great catch for comparison Mark

Here are the two for a closer look. I’ve reduced the O‘Neill transcription for an easier comparison, very little has actually been changed ~ O’Neill first, age before beauty ~ 😉 ~ & this transcript finally, without the letters ~

X: 538
T: The Daisy Field
S: “O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems”, 1907, #538
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: Reel
K: D Major
AG |
FGAF DEFD | E>A, (3A,G,A, E>A, (3A,G,A, | FGAF DEFA | (3fga ec d2 :|
|: ag |
fddc dcdf | edcd efge |[1 fddc dfaf | ec (3ABc d2 ag :|
[2 fdef gbag | (3fga ec dB |]
N: m_gavin’s transcription
AG |
FD (3DDD FDAF | EA, (3A,A,A, EA,(3A,A,A, | FD (3DDD FDFA | (3Bcd ec d2 :||
(3ABc |
d2 eg fd (3ddd | ec (3ccc dcBA |[1 d2 eg fd (3ddd | ec (3ccc d2 :|
[2 ~a2 af gfeg | (3fgf ec dB |]

The A-part’s pretty much identical to the Daisy Field I know - it being different to the O’Neill’s setting. That B-part’s a bit different though, isn’t it. It reminds me of something. I want to say I’ve heard something similar on an Altan recording, but I’m at work at the moment so I can’t check it out, and these airport computers don’t have all my bookmarked tune indexes for quick surfing. Will have a look later.

The B-parts still finish off with the same final measure, in the second endings… There’s very little separating those second endings, either measure of them… I can’t kick the strathspey/highland way with it out of my head… An Altan connection wouldn’t surprise me…


X: 1134
T: ?
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: Strathspey / highland fling
K: D Major
|: A>G |
F>D (3DDD F>DA<F | E>A, (3A,A,A, E>F (3GFE |
F>D (3DDD F>DF<A | (3Bcd e>c d>B :|
(3ABc |
d>c (3efg f>d (3fed | ec (3ccc ec (3ABc |
[1 (3ddd eg f>dA<d | e>c (3ABc d2 :|
[2 a2 (3fga g2 (3efg | (3fgf e>c d2 |]

This bears the most resemblance to The Broken Bridge, as recorded by Altan on The Red Crow (played in a set together with the tune of that title).

It could be regarded as a version of The Daisy Field - the A-part is very similar to the version I am used to hearing in sessions - but there is a bit of divergence in the B-parts.

This is Altan’s version, tainted by my fallible memory and creative audacity:

T: The Broken Bridge
L: 1/8
M: 4/4
R: Reel
K: D
FD (3DDD FD (3DDD | EA, (3A,A,A, EA, (3A,A,A, | FD (3DDD FAdA |1 (3Bcd ec dBAG :|2 (3Bcd ec d2 || de | fdeg fded | cA (3Bcd cAFA | d2 (3efg fafd | egec d2 (3ABc | d2 eg fafd | egec dcBA | a^gaf gfed | (3f^ga ec dBAG ||

If I remember rightly, they play it as a 16-bar reel, whilst the common session version of The Daisy Field is more often played as a 32-bar reel (i.e. with repeats).

That’s the one I was thinking of, David, thanks. I must have an ok memory because the last time I listened to the Red Crow would be about 10 years ago.

Any chance we can get the title edited?

I’ve dropped m_gavin a line, good catch all, but I still can’t shake that highland fling / strathspey feeling, anyway, it works that way too, especially with 16 bars and a 2 bar second ending…

Yeah spoon, glaringly, your “fallible memory and creative audacity”, awful stuff really… You have our sympathies. You know they make patches and creams and stuff for that don’t you? 😎

I know I’m biased, but I prefer this to a 32 bar “Daisy Field”…

I think you invented that highland fling yourself, ‘c’. There’s an expression for that, isn’t there? When you have these made-up “memories” that eventually you start believing yourself 🙂

“The Broken Bridge Highland Flung” ~ since master Dow is in a needling mood

gavin’s take is the one that took me there. I admit, I was having a bit more fun with it… Why repeat it exactly as it was, that take is already here

X: 1134
T: The Broken Bridge
L: 1/8
M: 4/4
R: highland fling / strathspey
K: D Major
|: A>G |
F>D (3DDD F>DA<F | E>A, (3A,A,A, E>A, (3A,A,A, |
F>D (3DDD F>DF<A | (3Bcd e>c d2 :||
|: (3ABc |
d2 e>g f>d (3ddd | e>c (3ccc d>cB<A |
[1 d2 e>g f>d (3ddd | e>c (3ccc d2 :|
[2 a2 a<f g>fe<g | (3fgf e<c d>B |]


My memory did fail earlier, but I tried some of that cream Ceolachan suggested, and remembered that the A-part should go like this:

FD (3DDD FD (3DDD | EA, (3A,A,A, EA, (3A,A,A, |
FD (3DDD FAdA |1 (3Bcd ec dBAG |
FD (3DDD FAGF | EA, (3A,A,A, EFGE | FD (3DDD FAdA |1 (3Bcd ec dBAG :|2 (3Bcd ec d2 || …

Take 2:

FD (3DDD FD (3DDD | EA, (3A,A,A, EA, (3A,A,A, |
FD (3DDD FAdA | (3Bcd ec dBAG |
FD (3DDD FAdA | (3Bcd ec d2 || …

Do they make patches and creams for that as well? Or does that have to be treated intravenously?

What’s with two 1st endings? You didn’t dip into the mushrooms again did you?

FD (3DDD FD (3DDD | EA, (3A,A,A, EA, (3A,A,A, |
FD (3DDD FAdA | (3Bcd ec dBAG |
FD (3DDD FAdA |[1 (3Bcd ec dBAG :|[2 (3Bcd ec d2 || …

It makes me feel highland fling all over, minus the ’repeat of course… 😉

Now I feel even better the repeat has gone…

Take 3? No, when I said ‘creative’, I just meant it as a euphemism for being less than meticulous with my transcriptions.

No repeats is the way I meant it.

It’s great, this internet thing. In real life you usually only get one shot at saying what you want to say.

I’d be a gonner in that case, one shot… I’m hopeless. As I jokingly (frustratingly) say, my memory is good, it just doesn’t work on demand… 🙁


I’ll accept “the broken bridge” for now. But it seemed to be played as a reel as I heard it. The reader can make the adjustments as desired.

In the reel world, in the past tense, I used to be a damned good shot…but blowing the hell out of things wasn’t really in my nature…. I had and have relatives that are less discerning… One of my grandfathers even blew himself up, which he survived… 😏

“The Broken Bridge” is a reel ~

“The Broken Bridge” is a reel ~ but the melody also works as a highland fling. Even then, some folks play those quite flat, which is why so many of them do double duty as a reel, also because few folks dance the accompanying dances anymore… But if you read back you’ll see we are mostly talking about a reel. I’m the crazy highland flinger… Sorry for the confusion… 😏

To > or not ~

If you look back m_gavin you’ll only see two takes that have the ‘>’ in them, both done by me, the second with your exact notes but with swing notated. All other notes are straight and intended to represent the reel…

hmm, confusing discussion here. So the broken bridge WAS played as a reel, i see. But spoon’s version has a very different second part. Oh well, they’re all here now anyway.

The ‘>’ confuses me. Aren’t flings played with more of a ‘<’. That is, shortened first note, lengthened second note (maybe I’ve got my abc’s confused.)

Anyway, these guys do play this tune with quite a ‘>’ (lengthened first note) , but they seem to play all of their reels that way. I just left it out of the transcription.

> & <

> = swing, the basic bounce to the music, taken to varying degrees…

< = ‘snap’, classic variations in strathspeys and also show in highland flings and marches too and airs…

Yes about swinging reels, but that also may have come from the cross pollination and purpose of different melodies. I quite like a reel with a little swing to it, and believe it kind of lifts the tune. That is imposible, of course, if you rip through them and flatten all the interest out of them with speed…

Good comment m_gavin, good to know.

Hey, cool

I just realized how appropriate ben’s remark was. You could easily transform this into a slide by changing the emphasis a bit, or just play it real slow with alot of swing and a slide, say micho russell’s, fits right in after it. Neat! I love melodies with ambiguous time signatures.

“The Broken Bridge” slid into a slide? 😏 I ain’t so sure ~

X: 1134
T: The Brokered Bridge
M: 12/8
L: 1/8
R: slid into a slide
K: D Major
|: A2 G |
F2 D DDD F2 D A2 F | E2 A, A,A,A, E2 A, A,A,A, |
F2 D DDD F2 D F2 A | Bcd e2 c d3 :|
|: ABc |
d3 e2 g f2 d ddd | e2 c ccc d2 c B2 A |
[1 d3 e2 g f2 d ddd | e2 c ccc d3 :|
[2 a3 a2 f g2 f e2 g | fgf e2 c d2 B |]


That’s it exactly. The thing is that the syncopation isn’t actually that different from the reel-with-heavy-swing, just notated differently. You could play this twice on the fiddle and the accompaniment could change the feel from reel to slide or vice versa. Weird.

I realized that quite a few reels are like that too.

I remember mentioning this subject briefly in a post last month after transcribing a couple of slides that were played like flings or reels on a recording It can sometimes boil down to how they’re accompanied, or, if you’re playing an accordion or something similar, where you accent the notes by putting chords in.

Flings, reels, highlands, slides, aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgh

This is a really interesting, really messy topic. It’s got me going back to the recording because I’m wondering, WAS it played as more of a fling? It still sounds like they are playing it as a reel to me. They play the dairy maid with the same swing, although maybe just a hair faster.

Then I listened to some recordings in my wmp library with ‘fling’ in the title. Hard to find much in common from one of these to the next. After a while they seemed to fall into 4 groups.

1) Some are simply played as reels. (kerry fling, as usually played)
2) Some sound like slow reels, but with fewer notes, often with a quarter note at the start of the first few measures. (lunasa’s Deireadh Fómhair.)
3) Some are only slightly slower than typical reels, with a heavier swing than MOST people put on reels, and a heavy emphasis on each downbeat. (Larry Nugent’s Sean O’Driscoll’s et al.)
4) On Kevin Burke/Micheal O’Domhnaill’s Portland, they play Lucy’s Fling pretty much as a slide, although it seems to be deliberately ambiguous, in between kind of thing.

My guess is that 3 is the most typical “fling.” If this is right, there is a further complication. That also sounds so much like a “highland.” Except the highland has the occaisional “snap” and often some triplet runs [(3gfe (3dBA G2 G2]. Is a fling a “highland?” Highland fling? Wha?

My brain hurts. Someone tell me what I’m missing.

A highland is the same thing as a fling. It’s a “highland fling”, see? So if you want to shorten it, you can say “highland” or “fling”. I get the impression that they get called “highlands” more in Donegal, and “flings” elsewhere, as in “Kerry fling”. Because of the strong Scottish influence in Donegal, I’d say the highlands up there are more strathspey-like in feel than your average fling (compare for example “The Old Wheel Of Fortune” from Donegal with something like “The Road To Glountane” from Kerry muso Terry Teahan). However, that’s just my own observation, and I don’t think it’s enough of a difference to justify classifying highlands and flings as separate genres. I could very well be wrong on this. If so, then I’m sure ceolachan will correct me.

Dance! ~ Dance it, with your heart, soul and instrument…

Never… 😉

Again, the dance is an integral part of the definition and that remained basically the same across Eire. To confuse things further, another name for the form, via Scotland, was and is “Highland Schottische”. Some of Scott Skinner’s compositions actually were presented for use as either a ‘Strathspey’ or ‘Highland Schottische’… The ‘structure’, 16 measures, the phrasing, changes and that second ending in the B-part, define and follow the dance and help the dancer beautifully…and vice versa for the music and musician…

Because that has been lost in most cases, over time, and pub sessions tend more to be dance purged situations, that loss of connective tissue and heart means that the melodies were ironed out and started fitting into that milieau as single reels, sometimes maintaining some identifying characteristics like a bit of swing…

Hey, why didn’t you guys just start up a ‘discussion’? Don’t answer, I know, sometimes it works better here in the comments, quietly and less public, eh?

NOTE: I’ve already gotten myself in trouble at least once this week, worse last night with someone taking comment I’d made on a ‘recording’ (not their own) as a ‘personal’ attack on them, as if. It wasn’t about anything I might not have done myself, like forgetting an apostrophe, and asking ‘if’ they’d consider making a few corrections so links to tunes would happen.

I got this nasty email via here and a scathing account of how awful I am, ignorant and an a**hole. So I hope the above was a more reserved and considered response, but it is again ‘stream-of-conscious’, as is this… I hope there aren’t too many mis-spellings surviving.

About this ‘thing’, the recording, I had been drawn to it via someone else’s request. Unfortunately, my misfiring brain cells, an uncooperative memory, I’d written this original contributor twice in two weeks. The second time was very short and did mention it might be a repeat. It was not intended as a personal affront. What I’d written them had no intention of insult in it. Their use of ‘me’ and ‘them’ in reference to themselves and the rest of us, or the aside about ‘English’ not being their favourite language, may have been a clue that I shouldn’t let it get to me, but it did…

Apologies to any who might take anything I say, about highland flings, other tunes, recordings or whatever, personally. It is about those things only with me, not about you specifically. There is generally no intention with me to make it personal, however passionate I may be about these shared traditions… So, m_gavin & Dow & anyone else, the comments above this ‘NOTE’ are only about the ‘highland fling’, so don’t take it personally, please, and feel you necessarily need to attack me in response, please? It serves no good to do so…

I do know, as passion does, that sometimes I step in it, as I seem to have in this instance… Having some country in my background, I have shovelled shight before. I am always willing to work to adjust my consideration for others upward, and work against my own ignorance and B.S…. 😏

Why would you think *I* would take it personally and attack you? God you are paranoid today aren’t you. I told you just to ignore that e-mail and forget about it, but you can’t can you?

You’re right, ceolachan. It’s a bloody fascinating discussion, this one.

I also think your ‘fling’ instinct is right.

And thanks for filling in lots of gaps, m_gavin. I think I may have learned a lot from this, but I’m not sure exactly what it is, yet …

I shall have to percolate …

“Percolate” ~ I love that!

Dow, you are so paranoid, would I mean you or m_gavin, never, but I’m not giving up the poor sod who felt it necessary to take out their life’s misery on me… I can’t know what influences soured their spirit… They obviously don’t have enough flings in their life… 😎

Dow, you should know me by now and that sometimes my tongue is fixed to my cheek, better than my usual foot sucking, eh? I hope you haven’t lost your sense of the satirical or satyrical… 😉

Philip O’Beirne’s Delight / The Purty Girls of Our Town

I had a talk with Martin Wynne about this one about 25 years ago. He called it “The Purty Girls of Our Town.” It was recorded by Michael Coleman as “Philip O‘Beirne’s Delight” after one of his fiddle teachers, the father of James “Lad” O’Beirne. The Coleman setting under that name is in Breathnach’s CRE vol 1. The tune is indeed very much like another reel called “The Daisy Field” (also in Breathnach’s CRE), which was also recorded by Michael Coleman as the second reel in his “O‘Rourke’s/Wild Irishman” side. Martin told me the names were reversed on that side, however, so “The Daisy Field” is really “O’Rourke’s.”


Here begins the Lecture

Donegal has ‘Highlands’ and ‘Germans’ - both being short forms of Highland Schottische and German Schottische respectively.
The Highland Schottische is a couple dance with typical ‘highland’ steps - shedding etc. And the hold is the standard Ballroom hold.
The German Schottishe is a similar to a barn dance and is slower than the Highland. Couples dance shoulder to shoulder, side by side for most of the dance, only assuming the Ballroom hold for the last 4 bars.
Schottis, Schottish etc are similar ballroom dances danced on the continent . . . they originated in Germany - probably developed from the Rhinelander as the German idea of Scottish dancing following the huge success of Sir Walter Scott.
Interestingly the fourh (hornpipe) figure of the Cashel (Castle) Set is danced to a pure continetal schottisch. The fling figure of the Labbasheeda Set is another.
Michael Tubridy . . of Kilrush . . . mentioned that Scattery Island had a set entirely composed of flings.
The close connection musically between North Kerry and South Clare with Scotland may be explained by the large number of men who joined the British Army and retired home as pensioners, Almost every village had its pipe or fife band in the early 20th century.


Hmmmmm, must be a full moon. Having danced and collected and transcribed, music and dances, all species of all of those, including all over Eire and beyond, well, let’s just say, rather than contradict or add another lecutre, follow my link and find more links relevant to the topic, and even full transcriptions of some of the dances collected in Eire… ‘Standard’ is a dangerous word to throw around…

Phillip O’Beirne’s

This tune is called Phillip O’Beirne’s, after Michael Coleman’s fiddle teacher. Coleman recorded it under that name, played after Miss McLeod’s reel.

Yet another name

James Morrison recorded it too & he called it the “Irish Girl”.