Reel, E Dorian, by Sean Ryan
Also known as: The Woman I Never Forgot
The Glen of Aherlow, or Lafferty’s Reel, is an Irish reel that has been recorded many times and is often played in Irish sessions. The tune was composed by Irish fiddler Sean Ryan (1919–1985), who named it The Glen of Aherlow.
The Glen of Aherlow is a valley located in County Tipperary, Ireland, between Slievenamuck and the Galtee Mountains. The photograph above (from the Historic Postcard collection at Tipperary Studies Digital Archive) shows The Glen of Aherlow and the Galtee Mountains.
- Video – Kevin Burke & Mícheál Ó Domhnaill: The Pigeon on the Gate/Lafferty’s Reel/ Matt People’s Reel – from the album Promenade. (Lafferty’s Reel starts at time 1:43 in this recording.)
- Audio – Theresa O’Grady: Reels – The Pigeon on the Gate, Cooley’s, Glen of Aherlow – played on tenor banjo. Glen of Aherlow starts at time 2:25 in this recording. From the album BANJO’ista.
- Video – Mick Conneely: Reels: The Glen of Aherlow / The Bear Island Reel / The Green Fields – from the album Selkie
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.
Play from the Dots
Examples of sets that include this tune.
- Lafferty’s Pigeon Reel Set: Pigeon on the Gate (E Dorian) / The Glen of Aherlow (Lafferty’s Reel) E Dorian
- Trip to Durrow / Lafferty’s / Killarney Boys of Pleasure
- The Pigeon on the Gate / Lafferty’s / The Morning Dew
- The Pigeon on the Gate / Lafferty’s / Matt People’s
- The Glen of Aherlow / The Bear Island Reel / The Green Fields
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- More Recordings
- Audio – Kevin Burke & Cal Scott: Pigeon on the Gate – Lafferty’s Reel – The Morning Dew – fiddle with guitar. From the album Roots & Branches, Volume 1 by Northwest Folklife Recordings (Lafferty’s Reel starts at time 1:42 in this recording.)
- Audio – Stephen Ducke (Tradschool): Lafferty’s Reel – Tin Whistle – from the book Irish Music – 400 Traditional Tunes
- Video – (Peghead Nation) Dale Russ and Marla Fibish: “Lafferty’s/The Lady on the Island” – duet played on mandolin and fiddle
- Video – Andy M. Stewart – Patrick Sheehan (a.k.a. The Glen of Aherlow) – Sung to a different melody than the tune “The Glen of Aherlow,” the ballad tells of a young man from Tipperary, Ireland, whose eviction from his home lead to his joining the English army and then being blinded in the Battle of Sevastopol in the Crimea. The ballad was composed by Charles Joseph Kickham, born in Tipperary in 1830. The recording is from Andy M. Stewart’s 1982 solo album By the Hush.
- Book & Audio – Stephen Ducke: Irish Music – 400 Traditional Tunes
- Book – The Portland Collection, Volume 1 – Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest. By Susan Songer with Clyde Curley. (Note: in the first edition of this book, the tune was given the title The Woman I Never Forgot. In the revised edition of November, 2011 the tune title is corrected to The Glen of Aherlow. For more details, see The Portland Collection: Vol. 1 Errata and Addenda in the Revised Edition.)
- Book – Brian Ryan: The Hidden Ireland: The First Selection of Irish Traditional Compositions of Sean Ryan. Published by Brian Ryan, 1999
- Lesson – Enda Scahill: How To Play ~ The Glen of Aherlow Reel (Lafferty’s Reel) – tenor banjo video tutorial, excerpts of full lesson. (Full lesson requires subscription to Enda Scahill’s Patreon page.)
- Lesson – Marla Fibish: Irish Mandolin (Lafferty’s) – mandolin lesson on melody, accompaniment, and ornamentation. (Requires subscription to Peghead Nation.)
- Lesson – Kevin Burke (Fiddlevideo): Lafferty’s Reel – fiddle lesson. (Video excerpts of lesson. Full lesson requires subscription to Fiddlevideo.)
- Additional Resources
- Article – Wikipedia: Seán Ryan (fiddler) – a brief biography
- Article – Jonathan Lay (TrailJams): Dorian, Mixolydian, Oh My: Modes in a Nutshell
- Webpage – Irishtune.info: Glen of Aherlow – archival information about the tune, curated by Alan Ng
- Article – Wikipedia: The Glen of Aherlow – a brief description of the place in Ireland