The Holly Bush reel

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

The Holly Bush has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Holly Bush has been added to 45 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The Holly Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:Bd||eAAG EAcA|BG~G2 BABd|efed BAGA|Bdef ~g2ag|
eAAG EAcA|BG~G2 BABd|eg~g2 aged|egdB A2:|
|:Bd||eaag ~a2ge|dg~g2 aged|efed BAGA|Bdef ~g2fg|
eaag ~a2ge|dg~g2 agbg|agef gedB|egdB A2:|

Ten comments

The Holly Bush

The third reel of a set from ‘Paddy O’Brien’s Sets: Tune Sets Arranged by Paddy O‘Brien, Co. Tipperary’, edited by Dave Gabol and John Walsh and available at Ceolas-

Not sure if this one is Ador or Dmix, since it starts in Ador and either ends in Dmix or resolves to the 5th in Ador? I went ahead and put Ador as a guess based on the overall tonality. As there are already a couple of tunes named ‘The Holly Bush’ on this site, we’ll see if the powers that be allow it to stay as such! Again, any background to any of these would be welcome.


Ack, didn’t see that coming. This linked with a bunch of recordings that I’m not sure are the same tune or not (this being different from what was already here by that name). Maybe should have put it in as ‘The Holly Bush No2’ or some such thing?

great tune! learned this from a kevin crawford work shop recently

The Holly Bush

Learned the tune recently from Kevin Crawford as well, but apart from the same key it’s totally different to this one.

Really? I didn’t know what holly was.

Now I understand what that greenery is at Christmas time.

Are you a prickly character,

Weejie? 😉 -Leave an let leave!

You know, these comments are not all about what YOU know (which of course I happen to know as well but am willing to share)
And don’t be so parochial: People all over the world enjoy playing and listening to Irish music: they speak many different languages and may not be familiar with the meaning of the Irish tune names or the Irish realities these slightly uncover. Not everyone, whether Christian or not, is necessary familiar with Northern European Christmas traditions either.

Besides, I’ve worked with teachers for at least the last 15 years now and I know that they are ever looking for project ideas. It is those people, amongst other, I have in mind when I post some of the posts I post. Is that a fair reason?

Yes, this is thesession, a site dedicated to Irish music lovers -full stop? Its main and certainly most endearing characteristic is that it is not just a collection of ‘skeleton’ scores but a place where people can express and exchange more ‘around’ the tunes.
e.g.; The titles of tunes are often said ‘not to matter’ in ITM, yet there is considerable interest for them as numerous discussions on these pages have shown. It’s not only a nerdy pass time; it throws light on some tunes, the context -historical or psychological- in which they were written or played. Sometimes a name even acts as a hint for interpretation (see The Grumbling man and woman for instance)

Can you see how the link above might start to make sense?

You accuse me of stating the obvious: why pick on me? (or prickle me?) A lot of obvious statements and repetitions have been made on this site. That is: they seem to be if you have an ‘accountant’ type of mind (Apologies to accountants, I’m sure they know the jokes!) yet, for the people who type them it is part of the banter and the mood of the moment; both of which are, again, two aspects of this site that make it so popular.

To finish this all too long justification, I’d like to simply state this:
What I had in mind when I posted this contribution (and a good few similar ones, where I reasonably saw fit) was simply this: I am trying to create -perhaps candidly and at times impersonally*- connections and perhaps, less humbly -and even more naively!- renew the interest for the connections between the tunes and what used to be a familiar understanding for an older generation of musicians: a wider perception of where the music comes from and what it is about (The ‘song of the earth’? Picking up ‘vibes’ floating about the streets? Here is an example of what i mean: … Neil -the ‘Fairy Fiddler of Donegal’- Boyle’s approach was another)

Above all, I am trying to simply communicate what I care about, create potentially useful links and references for people who are not only the regular visitors and contributors to this site but people who might come to it through a search engine: Isn’t it what the net is all about?

I hope this long thread is not another blatant misuse of public space.
Thanks for your attention.

(* I’d like the links and statements I post to bee a wee bit more personal or researched, but time is often a constraint -I hardly visited this site in the last two years for instance, can I be accused of taking too much space?)

Do you really think a link to a site about holly is adding much to a tune submission from nearly four years ago?
The tune might even be named after a pub.

“Not everyone, whether Christian or not, is necessary familiar with Northern European Christmas traditions either.”

So your (highly suspect) comparison of ‘The Ash Grove’ with ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ was for the benefit of the Neo-Confucians who might be into diddley?

Given that the Ilex genus is one of the most abundant in the world, I fail to see any merit in that argument.

It gets large enough that the wood has been harvested and cured and used for musical instruments, such as the keys for harpsichords… 😎 I’ve used it myself… 😀