Compositions by Carmel Gunning

Carmel Gunning / Peter Laban
Carmel Gunning / Peter Laban
Carmel Gunning / Peter Laban

Carmel Gunning / Peter Laban

© Peter Laban


Lovely Lough Gill [comp. Carmel Gunning], waltz

Lovely Lough Gill [comp. Carmel Gunning], waltz / Carmel Gunning, whistle

By the silvery waters of Lough Gill is a great place to reflect, contemplate and compose. W.B. Yeats wrote often about this lake and I write in homage to its beauty.

Learning resources


Conway's Cross [comp. Carmel Gunning], fling

Conway's Cross [comp. Carmel Gunning], fling / Carmel Gunning, whistle

A nearby junction to my childhood home, Conway's Cross was a hive of activity and is now a store of fond memories - from Jackie's dance hall to getting the bus into Sligo town with my mother.

It was a place associated with expectation and jollity. From the 1960's, it was home to the famed "Cobbler Conlon".  

He was a skilled fiddler who sometimes entertained his customers with the bow - a place where the lathe was put down and time was forgotten!
Carmel Gunning

Learning resources


Sunny Strandhill [comp. Carmel Gunning], reel

Sunny Strandhill [comp. Carmel Gunning], reel / Carmel Gunning, whistle

In days gone by with my young children in tow, we would head to Strandhill. It was the Las Vegas of Sligo - slot machines and seaside spins which the children couldn't get enough of!

The evening sun setting over Strandhill Bay was a wonderful sight when sitting next to the Crimean canon pointing to the Atlantic.

Learning resources

Sunny Strandhill [comp. Carmel Gunning], reel [played slowly] / Carmel Gunning, whistle


Bring on the poteen [comp. Carmel Gunning], reel

Bring on the poteen [comp. Carmel Gunning], reel / Carmel Gunning, whistle

Inspired by the repartee of an elderly lady when I was playing at a party in a nursing home in Co. Roscommon, she declared "Bring on the Poteen"! There is life and spirit in almost every gathering!

Learning resources

Bring on the poteen [comp. Carmel Gunning], reel [played slowly] / Carmel Gunning, whistle


Off to Rosses Point [comp. Carmel Gunning], jig

Off to Rosses Point [comp. Carmel Gunning], jig / Carmel Gunning, whistle

Named in honour of a popular seaside resort in Co. Sligo which my family also visited, and still do. This tune was inspired by the miles of its sandy beach, the Metal Man and towering Ben Bulben overlooking the Point.

Learning resources

Off to Rosses Point [comp. Carmel Gunning], jig [played slowly] / Carmel Gunning, whistle


Off to the session [comp. Carmel Gunning], polka

Off to the session [comp. Carmel Gunning], polka / Carmel Gunning, whistle

Of all the sessions I attended, one of my favourites was the weekly gatherings at Ted McGowan's Roisin Dubh Pub in Gurteen, Co. Sligo. It was a meeting point for musicians/singers from all over Ireland and around the globe.

Learning resources


The Geevagh jig [comp. Carmel Gunning]

Geevagh jig [comp. Carmel Gunning] / Carmel Gunning, whistle

My native parish Geevagh in South East Sligo, touches on O'Carolan Country and I have great memories of tunes played by the last of the local bards, Josie McDermott
Carmel Gunning

Josie was a fine musician/singer/ composer and playwright.

He was also a fan of Percy French.

 When I was about seven years old in Geevagh Hall at a Christmas concert he called me forward - me being a member of St. James' Well N.S. school band, and asked me "Do you know Phil the Fluter's Ball"? I replied "No". He whistled it and said "Well you have five minutes to learn it"! That was my first solo performance!

Learning resources

Geevagh jig [comp. Carmel Gunning] [played slowly] / Carmel Gunning, whistle


The lament for Fred Finn [comp. Carmel Gunning], air

Lament for Fred Finn [comp. Carmel Gunning] / Carmel Gunning, whistle

Related to me through marriage,  the famed Fred Finn was a virtuoso fiddle player from Killavil Co. Sligo who sadly passed away in 1986.

In his honour, I initiated the formation of a junior branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann in Sligo Town which I named after Fred.

Fred was the musical partner of the late great flute player  Peter Horan also from Killavil. They are regarded as the perfect example of duet playing in Irish traditional music.

This air was the first lament I composed.

Amid the tears, it is good to remember the laughter as Fred was a very witty man!

When leaving a local pub after a long evening session with morning light breaking, Fred, putting on his jacket on the empty open street winked and drolly quipped "There's a great stretch in the evening"!

Learning resources


Daniel's delight [comp. Carmel Gunning], hornpipe

Daniel's delight [comp. Carmel Gunning] / Carmel Gunning, whistle

Daniel is one of my grandsons - a tall lad now. As a youngster, on getting a new dog,  he was thrilled and began teaching the pet tricks. This tune was inspired by the playfulness of training his pup.

Learning resources

Daniel's delight [comp. Carmel Gunning] [played slowly] / Carmel Gunning, whistle


About Carmel Gunning

275988 Carmel Gunning
Carmel Gunning / [unidentifed photographer]

Carmel Gunning was born into a musical family - The Nangles -  in Geevagh, Co. Sligo. She is a composer, a multi-instrumentalist, singer and teacher of many well-known musicians such as Liam Kelly and Orlaith MacAuliffe to name just a few.  She teaches all year round and hosts The Carmel Gunning Summer Music Classes every August.

Recently, she celebrated 50 years in the music industry and published a book of her own compositions, The Sligo Maid, and a book of songs from Connaught and outside, Shamrocks from Geevagh, to mark the occasion. Her books can be purchased from The Coleman Centre, Gurteen, Co. Sligo, and/or directly from her (see contact details below).

They are very much in demand and many of her tunes are today being taught and learned in many countries. She has also devised her own system in phrasing and breath control for tin whistle and flute which she passes on to all her students.

She also released her sixth solo CD Cathair Shligigh.

She has taught music and singing at many festivals all over the world and has tutored M.A. and B.A. students at The Irish World Academy of Music in Limerick University.

Now living in Sligo town, she is working on more material to be published at a future date and plans some launches in Ireland and abroad when safe to do so.

For publications and to contact Carmel Gunning directly:

Phone: 0035387 625 0454

Address: 4 Church View, Ballytivnan, Sligo, F91 D7N1, Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carmelgunning


Presented by Treasa Harkin, August 2021, with thanks to Carmel Gunning