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A picture of a St. Patrick's day postcard. It features an image of a leprachaun holding a harp, along with the sheet music for a tune called 'The Dear Little Shamrock'.

St. Patrick’s Day: the Tune

Music, song, dance, merriment and drinking have been synonymous with the celebration of St. Patrick by Irish people all over the world for many centuries. In 2020, most parades were cancelled cancelled owing to the COVID-19 virus and thousands of musicians did not have the same opportunities to perform the tune most commonly associated with the annual celebrations St. Patrick’s Day. In this blog ITMA Director Liam O’Connor looked into the history of the well-known melody. It is certainly not intended as a comprehensive or definitive account as currently there are 964 references to it in ITMA’s catalogue and not all of them can be accessed at present!

The Ancient Music of Ireland, Arranged for the Piano Forte, To which is prefixed a Dissertation on the Irish Harp and Harpers, Including an Account of the Old Melodies of Ireland, 1840
Micí Mac Gabhann (1865-1948)
How the Irish Soldiers in Ladysmith Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Drawn by Sidney Paget from a sketch by Ernest Prater and published in the Sphere, London, 28 April 1900
Niccolo Paganini / from a painting by Georg Friedrich Kersting
Dr. Petrie of Dublin, Illustrated London News, 1866

St. Patrick's Day / The Comerford Trio