top of page
100 Vital Irish Session Tunes Book - Dave Mallinson

Many of the tunes found in 100 Vital Irish Session Tunes might be described as "old hat" and would be shunned by many seasoned players. However, it's absolutely vital that you are familiar with these tunes, as you'll find them cropping up time and time again. They are the foundation on which Irish music sessions are built. You could say that these tunes are even more essential than those in 100 Essential Irish Session Tunes. Every type of dance tune is represented: reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slides, slip jigs, marches, set dances, waltzes, mazurkas, flings, a varsovienne, a barn dance, a single reel and a single jig

The tune settings in this book are all ‘session friendly’, i.e. you can learn them exactly as written and know that you will have a perfectly acceptable version. However, I consider it unwise to learn a tune from only one source and I would suggest strongly that, when learning a new tune, you pay heed to other books, recordings and live performances. It is important to note that the settings in this book are greatly influenced by the instrument I play, the D/G melodeon (an accordion system rarely found in Irish music circles - B/C and C sharp/D are the norm). I’ve made a conscious effort to allow this to happen in order to give the book its own unique character. The list below would constitute an excellent nucleus towards forming a valuable Irish music library. When choosing books, take care not to be put off by the title; some of the best sources of tunes are from tuition books. Just because the book cover says ‘Learn to Play the Banjo’, don’t think it’s of no use if you play the tin whistle.

Books will only help you to learn the notes of a tune. To pick up the rhythm of Irish music you must devote a large amount of time listening to both recordings and live musicians. Of greatest importance, you must practise; the value of this book is directly proportional to the number of hours a day you spend practising.

Chord arrangements are more or less as played on the soundtrack, but nevertheless, are only suggestions. The dominant chords (i.e. D in the key of G, A in the key of D and E in the key of A etc.) throughout this book are noted as plain major chords, whereas many musicians prefer to play the seventh (D7, A7, E7 etc.). Feel free to play either type of chord as the mood takes you.





Come West Along the Road
Drowsy Maggie
Maid in the Cherry Tree
The Old Torn Petticoat
The Donegal
The Wild Irishman
The Primrose Lass
Green Fields of America
The Teetotaller
The Flannel Jacket
The Heather Breeze
Rolling in the Ryegrass
John Brennan’s
The Scholar
The Fairy Dance
A Rainy Day
The Kilmaley
Miss McLeod’s
Pigtown Fling
The Galway Rambler
Bonny Kate
Morning Star
The Road to Lisdoonvarna
The Woman of the House
The Merry Blacksmith
Boys of Ballinahinch


Father Kelly’s
Shandon Bells
Rakes of Kildare
Larry O’Gaff
The Idle Road
The Irish Washerwoman
Frost Is All Over
Saddle the Pony
Gallagher’s Frolics
The Sweets of May

Humours of Donnybrook
Paddy Whack
Top of the Cork Road
Munster Buttermilk
The Black Rogue
The Blackthorn Stick
The Mist on the Meadow
The Humours of Lisheen
Pay the Reckoning
Tongs by the Fire
The Maid on the Green
The Tenpenny Bit
Haste to the Wedding


Boys of Bluehill
The Plains of Boyle
The Belfast
Off to California
Harvest Home
The Siege of Ennis
Maggie in the Wood
The German Beau
Leslie’s Hornpipe 
Dennis Murphy’s
John Ryan’s
Tralee Gaol
Rattlin’ Bog


Dingle Regatta
Pete Bradley’s
Scattery Island
The Cat Rambles to the Child’s Saucepan
Bunratty Boys
The Weaver’s
Merrily Kiss the Quaker

Slip Jigs


Foxhunters’ Jig
Barney Brannigan
To Limerick We Will Go
The Rocky Road to Dublin
Drops of Brandy


Napoleon Crossing the Rhine
The Boys of Wexford
The Triumphal
The Centenary

Set Dances

Three Sea Captains
Saint Patrick’s Day
Maggie Brown’s Favourite
The Downfall of Paris
Madam Bonaparte
The Piper through the Meadow Straying


Planxty Irwin
Si Bheag, Si Mhor
Planxty Fanny Power
The South Wind
The Munster Cloak


The Barnacle Redowa
Donegal Mazurka


Shoo the Donkey

Barn Dance

The Curlew Hills


Love, Will You Marry Me?
Green Grow the Rushes-o
Single Jig

Smash the Windows

Single Reel

Rakes of Mallow

100 Vital Irish Session Tunes Book - Dave Mallinson

SKU: AM405
  • These tunes form the very corner stone of Irish music sessions. They crop up with such regularity that it's vital that you are able to play them. Every type of dance tune is represented: reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slides, slip jigs, marches, set dances, waltzes, mazurkas, flings, a varsovienne, a barn dance, a single reel and a single jig. ‘Session friendly’ settings ensure you can learn them as written and be sure of having accurate versions.

bottom of page