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Ballykett Courthouse


Ballykett Courthouse (Reel)


Ballykett is an area just outside of Kilrush in County Clare.

Flute player of Chieftains fame, Michael Tubridy from Kilrush gave me the following background on the tune in September 2019:

“There was a family of Bermingham’s living across the fields from me and they were very musical, their mother played the fiddle. Across the road from their house there had once been a castle, Ballykett Castle. In the early 1900s, there remained a big house where dances were held, and courts, during the troubled times. Then in 1957, we were all driving up to Miltown for the Fleadh and they were lilting that tune all the way up!! But they had no name for it, so that’s how I learned it and I christened it Ballykett Courthouse, or sometimes Mrs Bermingham’s.

Some few things I remember quite well and that happens to be one of them. The lilting was so nice that day with male and female voices that it has remained in my memory ever since.”

Details: View of a substantial house at Ballykett, formerly a castle (no longer extant). Illustration from the book:  Observations in a Voyage through the Kingdom of Ireland (1681) Artist & Author: Thomas Dineley (Draughtsman).

Credit: NUI Galway, Ireland Illustrated 1680 – 1860. Link.


John Kelly Senior playing Hughie Travers’ and Ballykett Courthouse (Reels) on the concertina.

Details: Recording Session for RTÉ (Radio Telefis Éireann)

Location: Kitchen of Marrinan’s Old Bar, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare

Date: July 9, 1975

Credit: Recorded by Barry Taylor, part of his book “Music in a Breeze of Wind” about music in West Clare. Link. 



Ballykett Courthouse