Well, pals, thanks for playing. There have been some very inventive,
funny and even some accurate responses, but no one managed to get
them all right - which signifies nothing much, except perhaps that one
person's magpie's nest is another's kettle of giraffes.
The quiz was prompted by two recent occasions (recent to me, that is)
of people saying rather different things than you'd expect them to say.
One came from the book of interviews with traditional musicians by
Fintan Vallely and Charlie Pigott, "Blooming Meadows" - the music
book I've most enjoyed this year - and the other was from "River of
Sound"; I've been re-watching videos of the series after the recent
discussion of it on the list. Then I just put together some scraps of
trivia which have been embedded in my brain for years. All in the
hopes of giving us all a bit of a laugh.
Here are the questions again, with the correct answers:
Who said that there is "no boghole too deep for all the accordions
A. Sea/n O/ Riada
B. Sine/ad O'Connor
C. Tony McMahon
D. Se/amus Ennis
Se/amus Ennis was the most popular choice here, but believe it or not,
it was Tony McMahon! Why one of the finest box-players in Irish
music would say this about his own instrument is a bit of a puzzle.
It's quoted in the interview with Tony in "Blooming Meadows", but
the context is not stated.
Who said "Strum, strum and be hanged!" and to whom was he
A. Sea/n O/ Riada; 1960s ballad groups
B. Breanda/n Breathnach; Donal Lunny
C. Christy Moore; Luka Bloom (ne/ Barry Moore)
D. Wolfe Tone; harpers at the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival
Sea/n O/ Riada got most votes (with a single vote for B) and in all
fairness he's plausible enough; only one person got the right answer,
D. Sadly, Wolfe Tone was himself sentenced to be hanged not long
after he said this (he cut his throat before sentence was carried out).
Who, when asked by a cocky youngster at a session, "do you
know 'The Star of Munster'?", replied "I AM the Star of Munster"?
A. Jackie Small
B. Jackie Coleman
C. Jackie Daly
D. Jackie Brown
All but one competitor got this one one right - it was Jackie Daly,
in exuberant form. So, Jim C., you've probably already shaken the
hand of the man who said that. Somebody asked who Jackie Brown
is - she's the eponymous heroine of a recent Tarantino movie.
Who, when asked by Se/amus Ennis to play a tune, replied
"God forgive me, I will"?
A. Bill "The Weaver" Murphy (Denis's da)
B. James Ennis (Se/amus's da)
C. Ivor Browne (Ronan's da)
D. John Huston (Anjelica's da)
Again, most people chose the right answer, A. According to Jackie
Daly, Anjelica Huston is well able to dance a set - after all, the family
spent a fair amount of time in Galway - so the idea of her da playing a
tune for Se/amus Ennis was not too far-fetched, but nobody fell for it.
Which blind musician is Johnny O'Leary talking about here?
"He had two ears. I'll tell you, he wasn't deaf. He was deadly
altogether with the two ears; he'd hear anything."
A. Turlough Carolan
B. Blind Lemon Jefferson
C. Tom Billy Murphy
D. Ray Charles
Not surprisingly, *everyone* got this one right - C. The quote
is from the interview with Johnny in "Blooming Meadows", and
it vividly evokes Johnny's way of talking.
Who recommended playing "Miss McLeod's" backwards,
adding "and you'll never in your life hear a nicer reel"?
A. Tommy Potts
B. Eileen Ivers
C. Paddy Moloney
D. Pa/draig O'Keeffe
I deliberately set choices that would all, I hoped, seem credible,
but except for one vote for Tommy Potts, everyone picked the
right answer, D. This is also taken from the interview with
Johnny, quoted at greater length below.
Who made this comment about traditional music in the
modern world? "I wonder how many of this generation
realise where this music comes from... Unless the music is
cultivated at source, unless new generations are given
access to tradition, the well of music will run dry."
A. Labhra/s O/ Murchu/ (CCE boss, a.k.a. Chairman Lao)
B. Tony McMahon
C. Mi/chea/l O/ Su/illeabha/in
D. Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland)
This foxed all the competitors. Most went for A, with one opting
for B. In fact it was Mi/chea/l O/ Su/illeabha/in, a quote taken from
Part Seven of "River of Sound". In the background as he was
speaking, crowds of youngsters at a rock festival were leaping
around to the music of The Sharon Shannon Band; this preceded a
look at education in traditional music.
Whose uncle wrote the Irish national anthem?
A. Brendan Behan
B. John F. Kennedy
C. Jim Coogan
D. Seamus Tansey
Again, everyone got this right - A. Peadar Kearney was the man's
name, as many of you knew.
So, putting all the answers together, you get:
Adjusting the case of the letters, you get this tune fragment:
c3 d c2|A6|c3 d c2|A6|
So now to the selection of the winner. Well, the highest score was five
correct answers, and three people tied at that score: John Kerr, Seamus
Keleher (who admitted that when in doubt he went for the Kerry/Sliabh
Luachra answer - I hadn't noticed I was being partisan) and Anne Marie
McNamara. Fair play to ye all. All were informed of their score, and on
his second go, John Kerr got all questions right, and identified the carol;
although this shouldn't really count, it showed initiative and also saves
me the bother of setting a tie-breaker question. It is therefore the
decision of the judging panel (meself and the cat) that the winner of the
free pint in Baily's Corner is: JOHN KERR!!!! Congratulations, John!
In his first response, John asked whether transport and lodging are part
of the prize. Lodging in the Sullivan/de Grae mansion is indeed included,
but transport is the winner's responsibility.
The judging panel has also decided to award a couple of special prizes.
Robert Mouland made us laugh by suggesting that "Jim Coogan" was
tha answer to all the questions, and indeed, Jim, I can imagine how it
might be true (except perhaps the first one). So Robert gets a packet of
Tayto cheese & onion crisps, "ripple" variety as Anne Marie suggested.
The other special prize is a Baily's Corner beer mat signed by the session
regulars, and this goes to Mark Stewart for an inventive off-list post,
where he seems to have made a couple of educated guesses and then
looked for a suitable carol tune. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong
tune ("Angels we have heard on high") and ended up scoring only two
out of six - but it was a brave effort.
Both special prize winners will also have to collect their prizes in person.
So that's it. Decisions of the judging panel are final, and are not open
to challenge (unless, of course, substantial bribes are offered). Thanks
again to all who entered, and I leave you with some more about playing
"Miss McLeod's" backwards. I'd love to know what this means. Of
course, both Pa/draig and Johnny are noted for their wit, but the
circumstances of this story suggest that it's not meant as a joke. This
was the last conversation Johnny O'Leary had with Pa/draig O'Keeffe,
as the latter lay dying in hospital in Tralee:
"'You know two great reels', he said. 'Don't ever forget them.'
"'What are they?' said I.
"'Miss McCloud and Rolling in the Ryegrass', he said. 'You see,
Miss McCloud is a great reel', he said, 'but we're playing it wrong.'
"'How do you mean?' says I.
"'I'm at it now', he says, 'but I suppose I won't be left live to do it -
play it backwards. And', he says, 'you'll never in your life hear a
"Whether 'tis right or not, I don't know. He was just going to do it
when he died. He said he had a sister that had the first part of it done
backwards with a concertina and, Pa/draig said, 'twas double nicer than
the way we're playing it. He was a genius, you know. He was a genius."