Joe Holmes: the singing North Antrim fiddler

Len Graham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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This fragment of a song and polka was first heard by me in the early 1960s from Joe Holmes of Killyrammer, County Antrim who had learnt the tune and the few words from his brother Harry; the same brother had also given the twelve year old Joe his first fiddle in 1918 on his return from the First World War. I was delighted recently to come across a published version of the song in the archives of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.1 The song sheet states that the song was written and sung by William Carleton and performed in Tony Pastor’s Opera-House, which opened in the Bowery district of New York City in 1865 and the William Carleton here would not seem to be the County Tyrone novelist (1794- 1869). Today we usually associate polkas in Ireland with County Kerry, but this dance of eastern European origin arrived in Ireland in the early nineteenth century and was popular throughout Ireland, Europe and North America
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationÓn gCos go Cluas
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Dancing to Listening
EditorsLiz Doherty, Fintan Vallely
PublisherAberdeen University Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-1-85752-073-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventNorth Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference - Northern Ireland, Derry/Londonderry, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 20121 Jul 2012

Publication series

NameFiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic 5


ConferenceNorth Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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