The Top of Maol (polka)

This tune, like so many others, goes by a few names. It’s often called the Queen’s Polka, or sometimes the Groves of Gneeveguilla, but Pádraig O’Keeffe named this tune Top of Maol to commemorate the fact that he could see the top of Sliabh Maol to the northeast from his home at Glountane Cross. Finding the place now can be tricky! What was once called Sliabh Maol is now either Baraveha or Knockfeha, where the Brown Flesk River rises. The bogs of Maol could be part of what are now collectively known as the Mount Eagle bogs, or the adjacent land which has been given over to the forestry schemes which have drastically changed the face of the local countryside. And the townland which was once Maol is now generally referred to as Glanowen. The travelling fiddler Phillip Walsh, who gave his name to Walsh’s Hornpipe, hailed from Maol, and there’s also a little-played reel known as Sliabh Maol. [Many thanks to Donal Cullinane for help with the geography!]

Top of Maol from SLOP
as it appears in Sliabh Luachra on Parade, a collection of Cuz Teahan’s repertoire

3 thoughts on “The Top of Maol (polka)

  1. Hello,

    Could you tell me what publication the first image is from-Top of the Maol Polka: I’ve Johnny O’Leary’s Music of Sliabh Luachra Book – by Terry Moylan and found the Gneeveguilla Polka.. I’ve also ordered the two books by Dan Herlihy – haven’t received them yet tho – am looking for the sheet music for Sliabh Luachra Polkas and slides..Looking for sources for them- Also, I have access to all of five volumes of ‘ceol rince na heireann’

    Thanks in advance,

    Doug Patrick


    1. Thanks so much, learning Sliabh Luachra Tunes on the C/G Anglo Concertina..mostly polkas and slides…I will get Matt’s book..


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