Irish Dances Never Before Printed

48 Irish Dances

Anyone interested in Irish music and dance might like to take a look at Forty eight original Irish dances… Book I & 2 (Dublin, 1795). You can download your own copy from the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s Gallica resource. The publisher and music seller, Morris Hime, sold the publication at his ‘Musical Circulating Library’ at College Green. Hime was originally based in Liverpool, but moved to Dublin in the early 1790s. After 1814, Hime’s ‘Musical Circulating Library’ relocated several times, to Dame Street, Westmoreland Street, and later Eustace Street.

While it’s great to be able to access printed documents like this online, it is also possible to listen to a number of tunes with the same titles as those mentioned in Hime’s publication, including  ‘Priest in his Boots’ jig, ‘Piper’s Maggot’ slip jig, and ‘The Maid of the Mill’ jig, at thesession.org. Of course, I’m not sure if these tunes correspond with the musical notation in Hime’s publication but if you are more musical than I am and can provide some more information, feel free to add a comment below!

Piper's Maggot Img

There are also versions of many of the dances mentioned on YouTube. The best video I’ve found so far is this version of the ‘Piper’s Maggot’ from Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film, Barry Lyndon. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Irish Dances Never Before Printed”

  1. Thanks for that Suzanne, and I see that there is an interesting edition of ‘Forty Eight Original Irish Dances’ on the Irish Traditional Music Archive’s site at http://www.itma.ie/digitallibrary/score/hime-48-original-irish-dances/ This employs ‘Interactive Scores’ where if you download a plug-in you can hear each tune with accompaniment exactly as notated. This is handy for those who don’t read music and provides a nice authentic soundtrack for interested eighteenth-century buffs. ITMA also notes that the publisher Morris Himes was of Jewish ancestry and specialised in ‘the publishing of annual country-dance collections’. It can be seen that not all the tunes in his collection are Irish, some being English and Scottish, and the variegated nature of Irish ‘traditional’ music is obvious if you scan a work such as O’Neill’s ‘Music of Ireland’. Also, if I am not mistaken, it is rare to see instructions concerning dance steps attached to each tune, as you find in Himes’s downloadable original collection.

    1. Don’t know how I missed the ITMA page! It’s such a great resource – thanks a mil for pointing it out!

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