The Star Above the Garter

Slide, G, Traditional Irish
TrailJams Tune of the Week for July 10, 2022

The Star Above the Garter. Traditional Irish Slide. TrailJams Tune of the Week. Play it together July 10, 2022. Illustration copyright 2022 Jonathan Lay.

This sweet tune comes from the mountainous region in Ireland that straddles the county boundaries of Cork, Kerry, and Limerick. Musicians from that area, a region known as Sliabh Luachra (or Slieve Logher), include siblings Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy. That duo’s 1969 album, The Star Above the Garter, brought the tune to the ears and fingers of listeners and tune players all over the world.

The insignia of the Order of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s order of knighthood, is an eight pointed star above a collar of gold with knotted roses and harps. Perhaps that is the inspiration for this tune’s title, and perhaps it is not. Probably not. The tune was given the title “The Star Above the Garter” on Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy’s 1969 album. That may have been the first time the tune had that title. Denis and Julia learned the tune from Padraig O’Keeffe, who called it “The Star and Garter.”


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 and chords for The Star Above the Garter. Traditional Irish Slide. G Major. Chords for The Star Above the Garter. Arranged by Jonathan Lay 71/2022.
Play from the Dots
Slow tempo 90bpm
Moderate tempo 120bpm


Examples of sets that include this tune.

References and Resources

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