Compositions by Nickie McAuliffe

277561 nickie mcauliffe
Nickie McAuliffe / Anne McAuliffe

The dawn chorus [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], polka / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

“The Dawn Chorus” is a title given to many musical pieces, both classical and traditional. In 1953, the French Composer Olivier Messiaen wrote an orchestral piece where he imitates the songs of the various birds. Charlie Lennon, the Leitrim fiddler and composer wrote a great jig with the same title.

Learn the tune:

Interactive Score -- Transcription of the tune -- ABC Notation

The dawn chorus [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], polka [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


Port an Ghradam 2019 [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], jig

Port an Ghradam 2019 [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], jig / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

I composed this jig to mark the occasion of Anne and I receiving the “Gradam Saoil” award from TG4 in the Waterfront Theatre, Belfast, in 2019.

Learn the tune:

Interactive Score -- Transcription of the tune -- ABC Notation

Port an Ghradam 2019 [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], jig [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


Stroke of midnight [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], jig

Stroke of midnight [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], jig / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

The title of this jig tells its own story!!
Nickie McAuliffe

Stroke of midnight [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], jig [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


Athnuachan Dónal [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], reel

Athnuachán Dónal [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], reel / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

I composed this tune in celebration of the restoration of a 19th century house back to its original thatched structure, by Donal Cullinane, fiddle player of Knockatee, Cordal, Castleisland, Co. Kerry

Learn the tune:

Interactive Score -- Transcription of the tune -- ABC Notation

Athnuachán Dónal [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], reel [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


Memories of Parlour 5, 1971 [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], hornpipe

Memories of parlour 5, 1971 [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], hornpipe / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

This hornpipe was written to celebrate 50 years of the music class for the Killarney Comhaltas Branch. The first class back in 1971 was held in “Parlour 5” in the Franciscan Friary in Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Learn the tune:

Interactive Score -- Transcription of the tune -- ABC Notation

Memories of parlour 5, 1971 [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], hornpipe [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


Saint Cecilia's Reel [comp. Nickie McAuliffe]

St Cecilia's reel [comp. Nickie McAuliffe] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

This reel was composed in honour of St. Cecilia, c.200 – 230 ad., the patron Saint of Music, who is buried in the Catacombs in Rome.

Learn the tune:

Interactive Score -- Transcription of the tune -- ABC Notation

St Cecilia's reel [comp. Nickie McAuliffe] [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


Tribute to Paddy Fahy [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], reel

Tribute to Paddy Fahy [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], reel / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle

I composed this reel as a tribute to the great fiddler and composer Paddy Fahy (1916 – 2019) whose music I always admired.
Nickie McAuliffe

Tribute to Paddy Fahy [comp. Nickie McAuliffe], reel [played slowly] / Nickie McAuliffe, fiddle


About Nickie McAuliffe

Nickie McAuliffe
Nickie McAuliffe / Mike O'Connor

Nicholas (Nickie) McAuliffe was born in Lyre, Cordal, Castleisland, Co. Kerry on 11th March, 1945. He attended Loughfouder National School, and later the Technical School in Castleisland. He learned his first music from his parents, Kathleen and Florence, who both played melodeon (one row accordeon). Therefore, his first instrument was melodeon and then tin whistle.

He later took up the fiddle which he had seen played by his neighbour and friend, John Ben Lane, progressing quickly to a high standard. He listened avidly to “A job of Journeywork”, a series of weekly radio programmes presented by Cíarán Mac Mathúna. Cíarán had travelled all over the country recording older musicians, and younger ones, using a mobile recording unit. He also recorded in England and America. Nickie also purchased the 78 rpm records which were in vogue at the time. These were mostly recorded in America and featured people like Michael Coleman, James Morrison, and Paddy Killoran from Sligo, and Paddy Cronin from Kerry – fiddle players all.

Bit by bit, his repertoire increased and his style of playing developed. In 1964, he started to travel around to Fleadhanna Cheoil with his friends Denis McMahon from Castleisland, Jack Regan, Knocknagoshel, and other musicians. He joined the Desmond Céilí Band which was led by Michael O’Callaghan (R.I.P.), Castleisland, and travelled all over Kerry and beyond playing for céilithe. In 1967 he joined the Brosna Céilí Band which was led by Donal O’Connor, Brosna. By now he was playing concert flute. Both bands played extensively and took part in competitions, with considerable success. The Brosna actually won the All-Ireland Céilí Band competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Listowel in 1972. Nickie himself won the Senior All-Ireland tin whistle competition in 1971.

Nickie was also a member of Siamsa Tíre Folk Theatre for many years.

In 1975, Nickie married fellow-musician, Anne Sheehy from Lixnaw in North Kerry, who was also a member of all the above groups. Together they have travelled extensively abroad, to places like U.S.A., Britain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Australia.

In 1970, Nickie began teaching music for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in co-operation with Co. Kerry V.E.C. Thirty-eight years later, he still teaches at many venues around Kerry. Many of his pupils have achieved high honours in music and some are now music teachers also. He also lectures on the history of Irish music to students who are taking the Degree Course in Folk Studies under the IT Tralee in co-operation with Siamsa Tíre. He and his wife, Anne, are regular teachers at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Milltown Malbay, and Scoil Éigse which is held before Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann each year. They have both been selected to teach at the Gaelic Roots Festival in Boston College.

Nickie has written many articles on traditional music and is a regular contributor to the souvenir program for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. He is also much in demand as a source for names of tunes and background information by musicians producing CDs.

Besides traditional Irish music, which he has studied in-depth in all its aspects, Nickie is also interested in gaelic football and hurling. His reading covers a wide spectrum from philosophy to the R.T.E Guide! He has a particular gift of retaining what he reads and hears, and is known for his phenomenal memory. He is also a keen photographer.

In recent times Nickie has composed about 25 tunes and has also written some poetry.


Presented August 2022 by Treasa Harkin, with thanks to Nickie and Anne McAuliffe