Popular session tunes around Alnwick

I’m hopeless when it comes to the names of tunes, but this is my list of session tunes popular in and around Alnwick. All of these are played regularly in The Fleece (Alnwick), The Ship (Newton by the Sea), and other venues like The Railway Inn (Acklington) and The Mason’s (Amble).

The tunes played in the Fleece vary quite a bit depending on who’s there on the night. If there are a few accordions in then the Jimmy Shand repertoire can be strongly represented. There are always a lot of rants and hornpipes, and a broad selection of the locally published Northumbrian piping tunes – even if there are no pipers at the session. 

I’m adding links to the sheet music and ABC files in ‘The Session’ website. You’ll need to be fairly relaxed about the dots, the actual playing of these tunes varies considerably in different regions. I’ll be working on this list through the coming months.

Some of these are real ‘groaners’ but they are still played regularly without too much complaint.

St Anne’s Reel
Lady Dee at Dee
Jock Wilson O Fenton
The Morpeth Rant
The Old Morpeth Rant
The Cheviot Rant
The Flowers of Edinburgh
Athole Highlanders in A then sometimes with a key change


Off to California
Miss Thompson’s Favourite
Out on the Ocean
The Foxhunter’s Jig
The Blackthorn Stick
The Locomotive
The Steamboat
President Garfield’s Hornpipe
Roxburgh Castle
Because He Was a Bonny Lad
The Lads of North Tyne (The Boys of Bluehill)
The Harvest Home
The Trumpet Hornpipe
Memories of Father Angus McDonnell
Farewell to the Dene


Chief O’Neil’s Favourite
The Home Ruler
Hexham Races
Dingle Regatta
Whinshields Hornpipe
Whinham’s Reel
The Redesdale Hornpipe
The Hesleyside Reel
Ashokan Farewell
The Lemonville Jig
The Lilting Fisherman
The Hogmanay Jig
The Silver Spire
The Kilarney Boys of Pleasure
The Shaskeen
Joe Cooley’s
The Kesh Jig
The Old Favourite
Going to the Well for Water
List For a Sailor


Tobin’s Favourite
Tripping Upstairs
Harry’s Princess Royal
Nancy Marley
The one after it?
The Moon & Seven Stars
Balquida Lasses
Repeal The Poll Tax
Brenda Stubberts
Drowsy Maggie
Small Coals…
The Golden Eagle
Mr Kennedy North
The Titanic Set (Polkas)
The Pearl Wedding
Tich’s Reel
The Sally Gardens
The Hut on Staffen Island
Callums Road
King of the Fairies


Plus a few oddities…

Here are a few tunes that don’t get played at the sessions but I like them anyway. These are tunes that I’m learning at the moment, and some that I’ve picked up from the RTE Radio Ceili House archives.

The Otters Holt
The Tarbolton


  1. Wow! That’s quite a list of tunes – you must be playing night and day!! Some of them are familiar on this side of the water too.

    • Cheers Sue

      These are only the ones I have names for – there are a lot more! We tend to have BIG sessions over here, often with 20 or more musicians. We usually run through each tune twice rather than three times. That way everyone gets to squeeze in their favourite set.

  2. Thank you for your very helpful sets. I will be in Alnwick 9 – 16 July (with a tenor banjo) and I was keen to become familiar with some Northumbrian tunes where I to chance upon a session before going to Rothbury for the 17th & 18th.
    Best wishes,

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