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Track 1: Learning The Trade

Track 1. Learning The Trade - Slip Jig – The Exiles Jig

The traditional method of education in Ireland in the 16th and 17th century was oral i.e. knowledge was passed on through spoken instruction rather than written records. Books and writing materials were scarce and the enactment of the penal laws in 1695 which forbade Catholics to teach or manage schools in Ireland resulted in the creation of illegal “hedge schools”, where travelling masters would teach in secret.

The Exile’s Jig illustrates the concept of oral (aural) learning – the fiddle sets the pace which is followed by the flute giving rise to a circular tune which progresses in style and speed. Aodhagán O’Rathaille would certainly have been educated in the oral tradition although he would have learned the skills of an ollamh through written material also and it is possible that he taught in hedge schools later in his life.

This slip-jig has beeen accredited to Johnny Moynihan of the band Sweeney’s Men, however it may be a traditional tune.


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