(planxty) 3:26 trad. arr. P. Dooley
I learned this tune from the fiddle playing of Tommy Peoples and in re-adapting it to the harp, I have no doubt added my own twists to it.
The Fairy Queen appears in ‘A Collection of the Most Celebreted Irish Tunes’ (Dublin 1724). Published by the brothers John and William Neal, this is the earliest printed collection of Irish music. Here the piece is attributed to ‘sigr Carrollini’, attesting perhaps to the famous Irish Bard’s aspiration to Baroque musical fashion.
In the introduction to his 1840 volume, Edward Bunting says that the piece seems to be derived from the air ‘Ciste no Stór’ (Coffers nor Stores) “ the only difference being that Carolan has added two more parts to it...” and in a letter quoted in the ‘Annals of the Irish Harpers’ that it “…was not intended by him for words, but as a piece of music for the harp.”
A significantly different version of the piece also appears in the only surviving fragment of a book that is thought to be a collection of O’Carolan’s tunes published by his son in 1747. This setting is probably closest to the version played here and to the one published by Bunting in 1796. The piece was played by Arthur O’Neill at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792 and along with the ‘Green Woods of Truagh’ it earned him the second prize of two guineas at the second Granard harp competition ten years earlier.