Munster Buttermilk

Jig, G, Traditional Irish
Also known as: Christmas Day in the Morning; The Boats Of Killaloe

Munster Buttermilk or Christmas Day in the Morning. Traditional Irish jig. TrailJams Tune of the Week. Play it together December 25, 2022. Image copyright 2022 Jonathan Lay.

“Munster Buttermilk,” “Christmas Day in the Morning,” and “The Boats of Killaloe” — three of its titles easily fit nicely into the rhythm of this cheerful Irish jig. In keeping with the general tangle of traditional tune names, there is at least one other tune that is titled “Munster Buttermilk,” a jig with the alternate title of “Behind the Haystack.”

Buttermilk, in its traditional form, is the cultured milk that remains after churning butter. Because it is cultured like yogurt, it keeps longer than pasteurized milk. While it can be used as a beverage, it is an essential ingredient in Irish soda bread and scones. In those breads, buttermilk is used with baking soda (soda bicarbonate) for leavening — while the soda bread or scones are baking the acidic buttermilk reacts with the alkali soda to make bubbles and cause the dough to rise. (See the References and Resources section below for a demonstration and explanation of making Irish soda bread.)


Dots (Music Notation)

As always for traditional tunes, the musical notation and chords do not indicate the “right” way to play the tune, but are a useful reference.

Sheet music for Munster Buttermilk (Christmas Day in the Morning). Traditional Irish jig in G major. Arrangement by Jonathan Lay.
Play from the Dots
Slow tempo 70bpm
Moderate tempo 90bpm


Examples of sets that include this tune.

References and Resources

For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.