References to Pipes, Piping and Music in some 19th Century Irish Novels
By Nick Whitmer
This page is a summary of the project with conclusions and a selection of 10 of the more interesting references.For the text of all the piping & music citations have a look at these links:
Series Numbers 5 - 38 Series Numbers 39 - 62 Series Number 68 Series Numbers 69 - 75
Complete Series List Home
In the late 1970’s the Garland Publishing Company of New York published a series of books, Ireland, From the Act of Union, 1800, to the Death of Parnell, 1891. These were reprints of books originally published between those dates, mostly novels and stories, which had Ireland as the setting. There are 77 titles in the series, and the reprints are facsimiles of the originals, usually the first edition.
In the mid 1980’s, not long after I began playing the uilleann pipes, I came across a reference to Knocknagow (series number 68), a once highly-regarded novel of rural life in pre-famine Ireland. Modern readers may not be as impressed with it as were those of 100 years ago, but the novel contains many interesting references to music, musicians – and pipes. Inspired by this, and wanting to learn a little about Irish history and life, I decided to read the entire series of books. I read three or four titles per year; it took about 20 years. I made note of any reference to pipes, pipers or piping that I saw, and of other references to traditional music if they were of interest to me.
Books in the series were chosen by Robert Lee Wolff, a professor of History at Harvard University. Few would qualify as ‘literature.’ Many are the 19th century equivalent of modern day beach reading: potboilers and melodramas, not well written, with cardboard characters and trite plots. A few struck me as quite good, but good or bad is not the point here – what about references to music?
Of the 77 titles, at least 39 mention what most of us would call Irish traditional music; 34 mention bagpipes and/or pipers. There are references to at least 70 specific fictional pipers. At least 32 tunes and songs are named, some more than once. I will provide more details below.
How accurate or trustworthy are these references to music? What were the points of view of the authors, and how well did they know Ireland, or know music? Certainly this would depend on the abilities, experiences and attitudes of each author. Sometimes enough is known about the author to have a good idea of reliability; sometimes next to nothing is known. Often the internal evidence of what is written provides a clue. I believe that at worst these authors intended their words to sound plausible to the reader. The best examples convey a ring of truth which reflects considerable experience and familiarity.
Most of the authors were of the elite, or at least well educated. With some exceptions they were of the landlord class, or middle class. Most had some connection to or experience with Ireland. However sympathetic they may have been to Ireland generally, their attitudes towards the rural population and the uneducated were often condescending.
Generally the novels were written for a British audience. Also, and particularly during the first half of the 19th century, potential readers would be those who had the leisure and education to read novels – not a common circumstance.
The Series is arranged in chronological order by author. The first book was originally published in 1800, the last in 1891. I regret that in my reading I did not note the time period or part of Ireland the piping reference was supposed to take place. A book published in 1860, for example, may be pretending to describe events in 1830, or 1600.
In rereading all the piping references over the course of a few days some trends become apparent. The references are drawn from 34 books by 12 authors. For the most part it doesn’t do to attach too much significance to any one reference but it is worth considering the elements which recur over and over.
Reading all the references to pipes in chronological order and in a sitting or two gives the impression of contemporary references in the first books, gradually changing to references which describe life "as it was" in books towards the end of the series.
≈ Where pipes were played ≈
By far the most common activity mentioned with pipe playing is dancing. There are 25 references, and the dances occur at fairs, parties, in the road, and most often, at weddings. In fact, weddings are by far the most common event at which pipers are mentioned; 20 references. Other events include at a ball, a village celebration, at the banquet table, and one reference to playing for the gentry.
There are only four references to pipes and fiddles playing together, but 25 references to pipes and fiddles in the same phrase, as in this description of the procession into a wedding feast in order of social rank:
"...very humble folk, including pipers and fiddlers, closed the array." [Banim, John, Tales, Second Series, 1826, Series number 18, vol. 3, p. 120]
Or this, of the proprietor of a public house:
"In the summer evenings, he usually engaged a piper or fiddler, and had a dance..." [Carleton, William, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, second series, 1833, Series number 35, vol. 1, p. 317]
References to pipes and other instruments are infrequent, as pipes and flutes (2 references), and fifers (2), and harp (2) and drums (1).
There is an unusual reference to, at a wedding celebration, this combination:
"On one side [of the hall], the floor was shaken by the dancers, and the ear stunned with the music of bagpipe, violin, and dulcimer." [Griffin, Gerald , The Collegians, 1829, Series number 28, vol. 3, p. 280]
Another combination, pipes and singing, at a wedding:
"...the treaty was ratified, and the bagpipe and the bridegroom, in tremendous unison, splitting the rafters with ‘Hymen, Hymen, O Hymenoee!’" [Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan, The House by the Churchyard, 1863, Series number 60, vol. 3, p. 42]
≈ What the pipes sounded like ≈
Most authors are unsympathetic in their descriptions of the sound of the pipes. The pipes squeak, screech, squeal, wheeze, etc., in their shrill, nasal and discordant way. Positive words are used much less often. "Beautiful" was used twice. Here are two contrasting examples:
The bent and lethargic figure instantly got a little motion, as his bellows gave the first puff, and he answered, "Hah! hah! I wouldn’t doubt you, Rhia Doran; you war always the boy for my money; faith, an’ I’ll give you purty nate music as ever left a poor piper’s bag:" then, busily stirring his arm, he emitted a very dismal, and, as he played it, a very discordant air. [Banim, John, Tales by the O'Hara Family, 1825, Series number 16, vol. 1, p.188]
"But although [the bride] was made much of, by rich and poor, no one thought more of her than Kit Murtough, the blind Piper; and good right had he so to do; for she had the pity for him, the poor sightless creature-and it was he who made the beautiful music that night; so beautiful was it that the Priest himself could stand it no longer, but capered like a China-man." [Hall, Anna Maria, Sketches of Irish Character, 1829, Series number 46, vol. 1, p. 205] Even here the narrator is supposed to be unsophisticated; he is a farmer telling a story about the fairies.
≈ What pipers were like ≈
At least 70 specific fictional pipers are mentioned in these books. Almost all seem to be of the rural poor, or beggars. A few might be said to be middle class. Only one gentleman piper is mentioned. There are 13 references to blind pipers; in fact, one reference points out that the piper is not blind, an apparently unusual circumstance. There are two, perhaps three, references to female pipers. Two pipers are of the fairies. Five references point out that the piper has a drinking problem.
Of the 70 specific pipers, 31 are named. In these novels, no other kind of musician is so often treated with such specificity. "The piper" is often a stereotype, a figure of fun or contempt, but still a bit more than anonymous background. Andrew Muldowney, Paddy, Dora Keys, Larry Cassidy, Nickey-Nick, Jerry Nale, Piping Brady, Blind Kinsheen, Richard Rafferty, the immortal Mr. Flaherty, etc., etc.
≈ What they played ≈
At least 32 tunes and songs are named. Alexander’s March, St. Patrick’s Day, Haste to the Wedding, and Foxhunter’s Jig more than once. Other tunes include Sheelin-a-gig, Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself, Miss McLeod’s, Paddy Carey, I Buried My Wife and Danced On Top of Her (how could a novelist resist using this title?), The Coolin and The Wind that Shed the Barley.
≈ Proverbial and other references ≈
"Drunk as a piper" (2 times)
"I’d rather have her in the house than a piper." (a compliment)
"But please the piper..." (meaning, if all goes well)
"Piper’s wages" (no wages at all)
"By the piper that played before Moses... (3 times; an oath of affirmation)
A reference to the "Cat and Bagpipes" pub
SELECTED REFERENCES AND EXCERPTS
Here are 10 of what I consider among the best or most interesting of piping references in the series.
In a little time, a respectful, though resolute hand raised the latch, and Andrew Muldowny, the district piper, made his appearance. The insinuating servility of this man’s voice, and the broad sycophancy of his grin, as he gave his salutation, "Go dthogah diuyh uluig shey-an agus sunus duiv," * [* "God send luck and a plentiful Christmas to all in this place;" generally given shorter, but the piper will, as they say, "make a croonawn or song of it."] bespoke his partly mendicant profession, and plainly told, at the same time, his determination to make himself agreeable and delightful, in lieu of the shelter and good cheer of which he made no question. And on he plodded to rightful seat on the spacious hob, with that loitering gait so characteristic of that lounging, lazy life; and as, unbidden, he drew from the immense pouch of his tattered outside coat, (especially constructed to hold them) his welcome-making pipes, screwed them together, and gave several squeaking "notes of preparation," he emptied, simultaneously, his budget of gossip and scandal; told of weddings and wakes, of christenings and funerals, broken-off matrimonial bargains, and the endless et-cetera of rustic tattle; all which, as, in one shape or other, it brought wind to his bag, Andrew was keen in snuffing out, as ever was the primest-nosed hound in coming on his game.
By the time Andrew’s anecdotes were exhausted, and his tongue tired, his instrument was happily ready to take his part, and he blew forth his most ravishing strains. The music inspired a general passion for dancing, and the young light hearts did not demur, nor the old ones disapprove; so Pierce led out his Alley, and Paudge Dermody did his best bow to Chevaun Darlduck, by whom he was blushingly accepted, and the dance went on. Old Anthony relished the sport, furnishing himself with a foaming can of his best home-brewed ale, with which he plied the piper....
[The dance is interrupted by a fight; mentions of piper until gathering disperses.]
Banim, Michael, Tales by the O'Hara Family, 1825, from the story "Crohoore of the Bill-hook," Series number 16, vol. 1, pp. 15-17
[After the wedding feast] Two pipers, blind old fellows, sleek in face and person, though rather tattered in attire, shambled from among the humbler guests, at the end of the barn, and took their seats on two stools, in a corner. They were quickly followed by two little fiddlers, thin and half-starved, (until that evening,) but active and frisky as kittens, who also seated themselves, in virtue of their superior craft, before the pipers; and, the orchestra thus assembled, a jarring noise of scraping, thrumming, squeaking and grunting, proclaimed that nuisance for which the most fashionable orchestras are celebrated, namely, the prefatory tuning of their instruments.
Banim, John, Tales, Second Series by the O'Hara Family, 1826, Series number 18, vol. 3, p. 132
[At a gathering at a house in rural Ireland] Near the chimney-corner sat Dora Keys, a dark-featured bright eyed girl, who, on account of her skill on the bagpipe, a rather unfeminine accomplishment, and a rare one in this district, (where, however, as in most parts of Ireland, music of some kind of another was constantly in high request) filled a place of high consideration among the merry-makers.
Griffin, Gerald, Holland-Tide, 1827, from the story "The Hand and Word" Series number 26, pp. 235-236
[Entertaining the gentry] A travelling piper was introduced, and treated to a seat behind the door, and a tumbler of punch, in return for which he favoured the company with Alexander’s March and The Little Red Fox, two favorite Irish concert pieces, which never fail to throw the listeners into extasies of alternate joy and woe. A dance followed...
Griffin, Gerald, Tales of My Neighborhood, 1835, from the story "Touch My Honour, Touch My Life" Series number 30, vol. 2, p. 194
[Discussion of favorite musical instruments in Ireland] The only instrument that can be said to rival the fiddle is the bagpipe; but every person knows that Ireland is a loving country, and that at our fairs, dances, weddings, and other places of amusement, Paddy and his sweetheart are in the habit of indulging in a certain quiet and affectionate kind of whisper, the creamy tones of which are sadly curdled by the sharp jar of the chanter. It is not, in fact, an instrument adapted for love-making. The drone is an enemy to sentiment, and it is an unpleasant thing for a pretty blushing girl to find herself put to the necessity of bawling out her consent at the top of her lungs, which she must do, or have the ecstatic words lost in its drowsy and monotonous murmur. The bagpipe might do for war, to which, with a slight variation, it has been applied; but in our opinion it is only fit to be danced to by an assembly of people who are hard of hearing. Indeed, we have little doubt but its cultivation might be introduced with good effect as a system of medical treatment, suitable to the pupils of a deaf and dumb institution; for if anything could bring them to the use of their ears, its sharp and stiletto notes surely would effect that object.
Carleton, William, Tales and Sketches Illustrating the Character of the Irish Peasantry, 1845, from the story "Mickey M’Rorey, the Irish Fiddler" Series number 39, p. 2
[At a public-house] I met a very rare character, who usually spent a month in this hospitable establishment. He was a blind piper, whose name was Gaynor, and his pipes, to look at them, did not appear to be worth half-a-crown-they were so small and contemptible-looking. When he began to play, however, every sound ceased, every tongue was hushed, every ear open, and every spirit rapt and borne away by the incredible and unparalleled charm of his melody. He reminds me of what I have since read of Carolan; his habits were not at all those of a common piper. He was perfectly conscious of his own genius, and would under no condition play for a common dance. He went about with his pipes, as Carolan did with his harp, not to perform for the vulgar sports of the common people, but for the respectable classes, from the lower gentry down to the wealthy gentleman farmer, with whom he resided a week, a fortnight, or perhaps a month, and so sincerely was he respected and so highly was his music appreciated, that a visit from him was considered an honour.
Many a long year afterwards, I gave him and another piper named Talbot a place in Gunn and Cameron’s Journal.1 [1 This sketch is reprinted in Carleton’s book "Tales and Stories," 1845.] Talbot was a prodigy, not merely as a performer, but as a mechanic. He, too, was blind, but no gentleman dressed better. He played upon what were called "the grand pipes," and such was his mechanical skill that he made his own pipes; these for elegance and gorgeousness of ornamentation surpassed anything of the kind on which the eye could rest. He was also an organ-tuner, and made an exquisite harp, for which he got a large price. He had also the honour of performing before royalty.
Carleton, William, The Life of William Carleton, 1896, Series number 44, vol. 1, pp. 142-143. Note that Gaynor and Talbot were real people, not fictional characters.
"...I ask yer honour’s pardon, he continued, following Edward to the door, "but if ye turn that way, ye’ll see a raal Irish jig danced; there’s a piper in the barn divartin’ the servants and followers with the music."
"Dancing!" exclaimed Edward, "and the country under martial law, and the town full of troops, and all disturbance."
"Oh, Sir," answered the man, as he brushed the hat with the cuff of his coat, "sure if we waited till the country was quiet, Sir, we’d forget the sound of the pipes and every step we had in the world long ago."
Macroom Castle is anything but a handsome or picturesque castle.... At intervals the breeze bore the festive sound of the "union pipes," to which the thoughtless servants and retainers were dancing in one of the out-offices....
Hall, Anna Maria, The Whiteboy; a Story of Ireland in 1822, 1845, Series number 48, vol. 1, pp. 273-274
[Debt problems of Richard Rafferty, gentleman and piper] The best poteeine that ever set care at defiance was home-made by the tenants, and Mr. Rafferty played the pipes like a professor. Would not, then, the music of the glasses and the melody of the bag, when united, soothe a perturbed spirit...? ...but he who originated a receiver under the Court of Chancery, as a diabolical contriver, in our opinion, double-distanced the whole lot [of originators of horrible inventions]...and so thought poor Mr. Rafferty as he supplied anew the tumbler and bag with alcohol and wind.
A pause ensued after Mr. Rafferty had finished "Planxty Maguire," and the mixture from which he never applied in vain for consolation.
Maxwell, W. H.(William Hamilton), Erin-Go-Bragh : or, Irish Life Pictures, 1859, Series number 52, vol. 1, p. 296-297
Ussher was now dancing with Feemy-and the fun had become universal and incessant; there were ten or twelve couple dancing on the earthen floor of Mrs. Mehan’s shop. The piper was playing those provocative Irish tunes, which, like the fiddle in the German tale, compel the hearers to dance whether they wish it or no; with a rapidity and energy which shewed itself in the streams of perspiration, running down from the performer’s faces. ...and oh! the precision, regularity and energy of those motions! although the piper played with a rapidity which would have convinced the uninitiated of the impossibility of dancing to the time....
Trollope, Anthony, The Macdermots of Ballycloran, 1847, Series number 53, vol. 2, pp. 14-15
...an’ if the wake was plisint the weddin’ was tin times as agreeable, an’ all the neighbors that could make their way to it was there, an’ there was three fiddlers an’ lots iv pipers, an ould Connor Shamus* [* Literally, Cornelius James-the last name employed as a patronymic. Connor is commonly used. Corney, pronounced Kurny, is just as much used in the South, as the short name for Cornelius.] the piper himself was in it-by the same token it was the last weddin’ he ever played music at, for the next mornin’, whin he was goin’ home, bein’ mighty hearty an’ plisint in himself, he was smothered in the snow, undher the ould castle; an’ by my sowl he was a sore loss to the bys an’ girls twenty miles round, for he was the illigantest piper, barrin’ the liquor alone, that ever worked a bellas.
Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan, The Purcell Papers, 1880, from the story "Jim Sulivan’s Adventures" Series number 58, vol. 3, p. 15
Father Hannigan had a hearty greeting from every one, and Mr. Lowe was particularly glad to see him.
"I beg your pardon, Miss Lloyd; but we must put Mr. Flaherty in that corner. Sit down there, Mr. Flaherty," he continued, laying his hand on the arm of a respectable looking man, who until now had been concealed behind the tall figure of the priest.
The old man was dressed in a decent suit of black, and as he sat down in the chair to which the priest had conducted him, Mr. Lowe was struck by the placid smile that glowed over his round, ruddy face. He wore a brown wig, curled all round from the temples, which he now caught hold of over his ear, to fasten it on his head. He then commenced playing with a bunch of seals attached to his watch-ribbon, which hung from the fob in his small clothes.
"Good night, Miss Lloyd," said he, without turning towards her.
"Good night, Mr. Flaherty," she replied.
"Ha!" he laughed, appearing to look straight before him, though the lady was on one side, and rather behind him. "I think this is Miss Isabella I have beside me," he said after playing again with the bunch of seals.
"Yes, Mr. Flaherty. It is a long time now since you paid us a visit."
He did not reply, as he was listening, with an anxious look, to the conversation passing between Father Hannigan, Mr. Lowe, and Hugh Kearney.
"This is the English gentleman?" he observed in a whisper, leaning his head towards the young lady who had just spoken to him.
"Yes; he is Sir Garrett Butler's nephew," she replied.
Mr. Lowe's curiosity to know something of Mr. Flaherty was so strong that it brought him to the side of Miss Lloyd, at the other end of the room. She tossed her flounces about, and made way for him in an ecstasy of delight.
"I am curious to know," he said, "who is that old gentleman?"
As he spoke, his curiosity was further excited by seeing a little boy come into the room and place a green bag on the old man's knees.
"That's the celebrated Irish piper," she replied. "I am surprised to see him here. I did not think he attended country weddings."
"I suppose," said Mr. Lowe, "he goes round among the nobility and gentry, as we are told the harpers used to do."
"He does," she replied; "and he has a beautiful little pony the countess gave him. But I suppose he is stopping at present with the priests, and Father Hannigan has brought him with him."
"I wish he would begin to play," said Mr. Lowe. And he was rather startled when the old man immediately said:
"Yes, I'll play a tune for you."
"Oh! thank you; but I really did not think you could hear me."
"Ha!" he replied, laughing; "I can hear the grass growing."
He pulled out his watch, and after opening the glass and fumbling with it for a moment, he said:
"Twenty minutes past nine."
Mr. Lowe, who looked at him in surprise as he smiled and chuckled while putting up his watch, caught a glimpse of the old man's eyeballs, and saw that he was blind.
"Sit down here near me," said Mr. Flaherty. "I knew Sir Garrett and your mother well. I'll play one of poor Garrett's favourite tunes for you."
As he uncovered his pipes their splendour quite took Mr. Lowe by surprise. The keys were of silver, and the bag covered with crimson velvet fringed with gold; while the little bellows was quite a work of art, so beautifully was it carved and ornamented with silver and ivory. Having tied an oval-shaped piece of velvet with a ribbon attached to each end above his knee, he adjusted his instrument, and after moving his arm, to which the bellows was attached by a ribbon, till the crimson velvet bag was inflated, he touched the keys, and catching up the "chanter" quickly in both hands began to play. Mr. Lowe, who watched him narrowly, now saw the use of the piece of velvet tied round his leg, as the "chanter" was ever and anon pressed against it to assist in the production of certain notes by preventing the escape of the air through the end of the tube.
The musician soon seemed to forget all mere human concerns. He threw back his head, as if communing with invisible spirits in the air above him; or bent down over his instrument as if the spirits had suddenly flown into it, and he wanted to catch their whisperings there, too.
The audience, to some extent, shared in the musician's ecstasy; particularly Father Hannigan, from whose eyes tears were actually falling as the delicious melody ceased, and the old man raised his sightless eyes, and listened, as it were, for an echo of his strains from the skies.
"Oh!" exclaimed Father Hannigan, turning away his head, and flourishing his yellow Indian silk pocket-handkerchief, as he affected to sneeze before taking the pinch of snuff he held between the fingers of the other hand — "Oh, there's something wonderful in these old Irish airs! There was a ballad in last Saturday's Nation about that tune, that was nearly as moving as the tune itself. Did you read it?" he asked, turning to Hugh Kearney.
"Yes," he replied. "Your friend, Dr. Kiely, induced me to become a subscriber to the Nation."
"I don't get it myself," returned Father Hannigan. "'Tis Father O'Neill gets it, and I suspect he has a leaning towards those Young Irelanders, and dabbles in poetry himself. But I wish I had that ballad about the 'Coolin,' to read it for Mr. Flaherty. If poetry as well as music could be squeezed out of an Irish bagpipes, I'd say that ballad came out of that bag under his oxter."
The old man's face brightened up, as he raised his head, and appeared to be listening to the spirits in the air again.
"Can you remember any of the lines, Hugh?"
"Not to repeat them," he replied; "but I have a general recollection of them."
"We're obliged to you, intirely, for your general recollection," returned Father Hannigan, with his finger on his temple. "But what's that he said about 'sorrow and love'?"
"Sobbing like Eire," replied Hugh.
"Ay, ay," interrupted Father Hannigan. "Now I have it. The poet, Mr. Flaherty, described the 'Coolin' as
'Sobbing like Eire with sorrow and love.'
Isn't that beautiful? — and true?
The old man laughed and listened more intently, as if the spirits in the air were very far off, and he were trying to catch the flapping of their wings.
"He also said," Hugh added, "that
'An angel first sung it above in the sky.'"
This seemed to catch the minstrel's fancy more than the other line, for he nodded his head several times, with his mouth slightly open, as if he were softly repeating the interjection ha! ha! ha!
[...]there was a hustling heard at the door, and Ned Brophy himself was seen pushing two blind pipers into the parlour with a degree of violence and an expression of countenance that led Mr. Lowe to imagine he must have caught them in the act of attempting to rob him or something of that kind. The two pipers were tall and gaunt and yellow — a striking contrast in every way to Mr. Flaherty. One was arrayed in a soldier's grey watch-coat, with the number of the regiment stamped in white figures on the back, and the other wore a coarse blue body-coat, with what appeared to be the sleeves of another old grey watch-coat sewed to it between the shoulders and the elbows. Both wore well-patched corduroy knee-breeches and bluish worsted stockings, with brogues of unusual thickness of sole, well paved with heavy nails. Their rude brass-mounted instruments were in keeping with their garments. The sheep-skin bag of one had no covering whatever, while that of the other was covered with faded plaid, "cross-barred with green and yellow." They dropped into two chairs near the door, thrusting their old "caubeens" under them, and sat bolt upright like a pair of mummies or figures in a wax-work exhibition.
This invasion of the parlour was caused by the expulsion of the dancers from the barn, to make room for laying the tables for the banquet.
"Play that tune that the angel sang again, Mr. Flaherty," said Father Hannigan.
Mr. Flaherty complied, and the noise and hum of voices were at once hushed.
"Have you that?" the piper in the watch-coat asked his companion in a whisper, at the same time beginning to work with his elbow.
"I have," replied the other, beginning to work with his elbow, too.
A sound like snoring followed for a moment, and Mr. Flaherty jerked up his head suddenly, and looked disturbed — as if an evil spirit had intruded among his "delicate Ariels." But as the noise was not repeated, his countenance resumed its wonted placidity, and he bent over his instrument again.
"I think I could do id betther myse'f," said he of the blue body-coat, holding his big knotty fingers over the boles of his chanter. "He don't shake enough."
"So could I," replied the grey watch-coat, giving a squeeze to his bag, which was followed by a faint squeak.
"Turn him out!" shouted Mr. Flaherty, in a voice of thunder, as he started to his feet, his eyes rolling with indignant anger.
There was great astonishment among the company; and Miss Lloyd jumped upon her chair and stared wildly about her, with a vague notion that Wat Murphy's bulldog — of which interesting animal she entertained the profoundest dread — hath got into the room and seized Mr. Flaherty by the calf of the leg.
"Come, Shamus," said Father Hannigan, "this is no place for you. Come, Thade, be off with you," and Father Hannigan expelled the grumbling minstrels from the parlour; but in doing so he gave each a nudge in the ribs, and slipped a shilling into his fist, which had the effect of changing their scowl into a broad grin, as they jostled out to the kitchen.
Kickham, Charles Joseph, Knocknagow: or, the Homes of Tipperary, 1879, Series number 68, pp. 214-219
For the text of all the piping & music citations have a look at these links:
Series Numbers 5 - 38 Series Numbers 39 - 62 Series Number 68 Series Numbers 69 - 75
Complete Series List Home