Scroll to top

Caher Rua


Caher Rua

John Sr. got this tune from Vincent Campbell from Donegal. It is named after Ceathru Cavan, a travelling fiddle player from Co. Cavan.


Caher Rua (Reel)


This is a tune very much associated with Donegal fiddle music. John Kelly Senior was a great admirer of the fiddle playing and music of Donegal.

John got this tune from Vincent Campbell from Donegal, as per the sleeve notes of John & James Kelly’s 1974 album “Irish Traditional Fiddle Music”. The album notes state “It is named after Ceathrú Cavan, a travelling fiddle player from Co. Cavan.” However, information from fiddle player Ciarán Ó Maonaigh from Donegal in June 2019 about this tune is as follows:

“Cathair Rua Cavan is the correct name of this tune. Cathair Rua was one of the O’Donnells that was left after the flight of the Earls.

The Cavan in question is actually in County Donegal. Beside Dunkineely near Killybegs. Cathair Rua Cavan is mentioned in the annals of the 4 masters.  John Doherty’s would have been far out relations of this man.”

Details: Photo of fiddle player Vincent Campbell taken at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Cleary’s 1998 by Tony Kearns.

Credit: © Tony Kearns Photography Link


John Kelly Junior, James Kelly & John Kelly Senior playing The Caher Rua and the Wild Irishman Reels.

Credit: RTÉ “Fonn” 29 June 1977.  clarebannerman on YouTube, Link.