1. the thatcher’s mallet/the cow on the bonnet/mama’s pet (reels)

the thatcher’s mallet is an old session favorite especially among flute players.  The bullock on the bonnet is thought to be a composition of sean o’riada.  The version of mama’s pet we play here comes from the playing of michael coleman.

2. australian waters/the trip to clarina/jackson’s morning breeze (jigs)

The first one comes from the playing of sean og potts on the classic recording drones and chanters:vol II.  We learned the second tune from a recording of mick mulcahy from limerick.  The third comes from the playing of jack coen.  It is in one of the breathnach collections with an alternative name, pretty girls for sale.

3. the hills of coore/the forgotten fling (hornpipe/fling)

The hills of coore is a composition of junior crehan the legendary fiddle player and composer from west clare.  The forgotten fling in the first tune on connie o’connell’s album, ceol cill na martra.  we like how the last bit of the first tune is similar with the first bit of the last tune.

4. the wheels of the world/the lark on the strand/the kilmovee (jigs)

Holleran learned the first tune from Noel Scott, a box player from Galway living in Boston.  The second tune comes from the playing of Mike Rafferty.  The Kilmovee is a classic tune associated with Dermot Grogan from east Mayo.  This set is played in memory of him.

5. the heathery cruach/ah surely/eileen o’brien’s (reels)

The first one is from the playing of frankie kennedy and mairead ni mhaonaigh on their classic duet album.  ah surely is an old classic we put in a lower key to make it more flute and pipe friendly.  eileen o’brien’s comes from the playing of marcus o’murchu, the great northern flute player.  It is a composition of eileen o’brien the fiddle player from tipperary and daughter of the legendary paddy o’brien.

6. seoladh na nganhmna

I first heard this version of the song at a late night session at mona’s sung by the incredible susan mckeown.  its about a girl who is in charge of moving calves from one field to the next.  In the process the calves get away from her.  a young man approaches on his rambles and offers to help collect the calves tomorrow morning if she stays with him for the night.  

7. the trip to bantry/winnie hayes’/the cordal jig (jig)

the trip to bantry comes from the playing of dymphna o’sullivan on the album the sanctuary sessions.  we first heard winnie hayes’ being played in the this key by mick o’brien and caoimhin o’raghallaigh on the classic album kitty lie over.  The cordal jig comes from the playing of liam o’flynn.

8. rub the bag/the old bush/the road to ballymac (set dance/reels)

the first tune is a set dance not heard too often followed by the greatest reel of all time.  the road to ballymac was said to be written by an accordion player from antrim by the name of leslie craig.

9. the turoe stone/the waddling gander/paddy clancy’s (jigs)

the first one is a composition of the galway flute player and composer vincent broderick.  the waddling gander comes from the playing of father charlie coen, the concertina player.  we both learned paddy clancy’s from the classic bothy band recording.

10. the eel in the sink/the aconry lasses/kevin griffin’s (reels)

the eel in the sink is another classic session tune.  we learned the aconry lasses from a planxty recording.  kevin griffin’s is from the playing of kevin griffin on a recording entitled doolin point: best of divers’ nights.

11. the tenpenny piece/o’farrell’s welcome to limerick (slip jigs)

bigley learned the first tune from robbie hannon during the scoil acla workshops he attended when he was a young buck.  o’farrell’s is the ultimate piping tune.

12. an buachaillín bán (slow air)

bigley learned willie clancy’s version of the dear irish boy from his teacher michael kilbane from Achill, county mayo.

13. o’neill’s march/ dan breen’s

o’neill’s march comes from the playing of paddy keenan.  dan breen was apparently a fiddle player from clare.


thank you to tom mulloy, charlie sporn, terry mckee, john daly, ryan mcgiver, dana lyn, ivan goff, tony demarco, tony davoren, the vallelys, brendan o’shea, eamon o’leary, susan mckeown, patrick ourceau, don meade, tom madden, tidc, the kilroys, the mccomiskeys, the burning river ceili band, ruairi hurley, brendan carr, francis quinn, benedict koehler, seth gallagher, the olwells, tim benson, bill coulter, tom foley, kathleen keane, cool cans of soda, nate banton, sean earnest, the custys, the kilbanes, the mcnamaras, the stampers, the chambers’, michael english, the chirdons, dan isaacson, caroline taylor, marianne knight, katie linnane, eileen sammon, pete leneghan, pat campbell, karen o’malley, the o’sullivans, the raffertys, the kellys, the duns’, the murrays, the bigleys, the hollerans, and torrey.


this album is dedicated to our music teachers Michael Rafferty (RIP) and Michael Kilbane.  Their endless time, patience, and energy brought us to a greater understanding of the music.  We are forever in their debt.


the bullock on the bonnet written by sean o’riada

the hills of coore written by junior crehan

eileen o’brien’s written by eileen o’brien

the road to ballymac written by leslie craig

the turoe stone written by vincent broderick


all photos and layout done by tom mulloy.



recorded, edited, all the rest by brian bigley at big house studios.


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