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Archivers and music academics rejoiced today at the new discovery of yet another old manuscript containing the notes of crappy Irish tunes.

The manuscript, found built into the wall of an old pub in Athlone, contains the notes to numerous contrived sounding pieces of Irish music and has already been dubbed ‘The Cannonball/Badman Collection’, after the collectors whose names are inscribed on the manuscript.

It is thought to date from the early 1700s and contains the work of some Irish music’s earliest composers and plámásers such as Father Reboola Conundrum, ‘Big Hard’ Jimmy Pat Jiminy O’Cricket and of course Nóra O’Handies-McGubbinsworth. Professor of Music in Trinity College Laurence De Paor explained the significance of the find:

“This is one of the best preserved documents I’ve seen in a long time. It’s as if it has never been used by anyone. I heard the builders had a hard time digging it out of the wall. It’s like no-one wanted those tunes to be found!”

“The pieces of music on the manuscript fill in a lot of the gaps regarding music of the time and explain where a lot of the forgotten tunes in Chief O’Neills came from. We’ve already had hundreds of calls from harpists all over Ireland desperate to record the tunes.”

The manuscript was discovered by builders renovating O’Looneys Pub in an old stone wall in a securely locked wooden box accompanied by a letter saying ‘Beest warned. That gent who playeth these tunes shalt taketh a swift kicketh to thine arse by other musicians’.

“We think that the warning was just a joke only us academics would get, you wouldn’t understand. Clearly these are amazing pieces of music and really put into perspective that pointlessness of playing jigs and reels. Bloody peasants!”

The pieces of music range from mazurkas such as ‘The Mangled Badger’, slow airs like ‘Ode to Ulick O’Rethra’ and planxtys like ‘Planxty Testes’. There already plans to release a printed copy of the tunes which is being earmarked for a launch at the Willie Clancy Summer School.


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