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Michael Relihan’s Reel


Michael Relihan’s Reel

Michael Relihan was a neighbour to John Kelly before John moved to Dublin City. (Aoife look up ceoil rince 5. 155, The Dream of Home)


Michael Religan’s (Reel)


Michael Relihan was a tune played by a neighbour of John Kelly Seniors in West Clare. John states that this is a Kerry tune in the second recording below.

Tune also known as “An Tnúthán i ndiaidh an Bhaile / The Dream of Home”.

Brendan Breathnach collected this tune (as “Mick Relihan’s”) from Tom Barrettt, a fiddle player from Listowel, Co. Kerry.

The following excerpt is from the website Tunearch in reference to the book: Abeyta, MacUileagóid, Guerin, de Grae, Dalton (Drawing from the Well: A Selection of Music from the North Kerry Tradition), 2010; p. 20.

“Relihan, nicknamed “The Yank,” was from Trienearagh, Kerry (between Listowell and Duagh), and, according to Abeyta et al preferred minor tunes in a repertoire that consisted primarily of reels, especially single reels. The authors explain that single reels such as Relihan played were common in in North Kerry, West Limerick and West Clare, representative of an older style in which reels were characteristically rhythmic with fewer notes than double reels.”

Photos Details: Photo of Duagh, Co. Kerry. Year not noted. 

Credit: The Photographic Collection, A001.18.00038. Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD. Link


John Kelly Senior playing Mikey Relihan’s Reel on the fiddle.

Audio Details: Location and date unknown.

Credit: © Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Séamus MacMathúna Sound Collection. Link


John Kelly Senior and John Kelly Junior playing Michael Religans Reel.

Seán Potts (SP): “Play Religan’s one again. ”

John Kelly Junior (JKJ): “The first one.”

John Kelly Senior (JKS): “Michael Religans.”

SP: “Michael Religans.”

John Senior and Junior play the tune.

JKJ: “Mikey?”

JKS: “Michael Religan – R-E-L-I-G-H-A-N, a Kerry name.”

JKJ: “Mikey Religans”

JKS: “Religans Reel, yea.”

JKJ: “Mikey Religan Reel, a Kerry reel.”

Details: Location: The Four Seasons Pub, Bolton Street, Dublin. Date: April 2nd 1987,

Credit: Personal recording of John Kelly Junior from April 2nd 1987.


Notated from above Comhaltas recording.