The Old Flail jig

By Vincent Broderick

Also known as Cathal’s Favourite, The Flail, Paul Ryan’s Fancy, Vincent Broderick’s.

There are 27 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

The Old Flail appears in 2 other tune collections.

The Old Flail has been added to 59 tune sets.

The Old Flail has been added to 225 tunebooks.

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Sixteen comments

The flail

Source: Chris Norman_the man with the wooden flute
Transcription: Gian Marco Pietrasanta

The Old Flail

This is a Vincent Broderick tune, the correct title is “The Old Flail”. I’ve heard it played after “The Whistler at the Wake” which is another Vincent Broderick tune.

“Traditional Irish Flute Solos: The Turoe Stone Collection”

~ 69 compositions by Vincent Broderick
Waltons Music Inc., 1990
ISBN: 1-85720-061-6

Page 15: “The Old Flail”

nice version on John Skelton and Keiran O’hare’s Double Barrelled, after the Lisheen. They have a small variation on the b part

Vincent’s version

This is what’s in his book, The Turoe Stone, Traditional Irish Flute Solos.

X: 1
T: Old Flail, The
C: Vincent Broderick
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Gmaj
DEG GAB|deg gab|age ege|dBG AGE|
DEG GAB|deg gab|age ege|dBG A3:|
ega aga|ega ega|deg ged|ged BAG|
DEG GAB|d2g gab|age ege|dBG A3:|

at 2’29". Nice video. And nice tune.
I was going to say it sounds too contrived, that tune as a score here, the 1st part ‘structuring device’ too obvious.. But that only shows one shouldn’t judge a tune before one’s heard it, nor read it…

Of course you would want to judge it ‘plain’, without Martin Dunlea’s sensitive, enhancing accompaniment, but why want to play it alone anyhow or judge it on the ‘plain’ criteria alone?

The Old Flail

There is a recording of fiddler Pat Ward playing this tune at the 1975 Kinross Folk Festival under the name “Paul Ryan’s Fancy”. The setting is very close to X:2 above submitted by Phantom Buttom. I was at that festival, but I’m afraid I don’t remember Pat Ward. Strong memories of hearing Aly Bain and another forgotten musician playing in a closie. Oh, and Tom Anderson and Peerie Willie Johnson. Almost forty years ago - cor blimey!


I was there too, Nigel, and I do remember Pat Ward who was a fine fiddler, very friendly and very considerate to some young loons with an interest in learning Irish music. Was that the year the “Chieftains” turned up on the Sunday, or was that earlier, do you remember ? Hope last Saturday in Aberdeen went well for you - sorry I missed you.

Kinross Festival

I have no memory of The Chieftains, so that may have been earlier.

(I had a great time in Aberdeen, and I think they enjoyed my workshop - no doubt you’ll hear about it either way! It was a flying visit, so I had no time to stay, but I’m hoping to come up for a session or two in the next 2/3 months - will let you know.)

Re: The Old Flail

Does anyone know the story behind the name of this one? (Or alternatively, does anyone know why I haven’t gotten around to getting the Vincent Broderick tunebooks? I’ve been listening to his tunes a lot lately…)