The Maid Behind the Bar

Also known as The Green Mountain, Judy’s Reel and various other iterations of a woman behind a bar, you may also hear it referred to as Freastalaí Laistiar den Cúntar (waitress behind the counter). The Maid Behind the Bar is another iconic reel, usually played in the key of D major, that you will no doubt be familiar with if you’ve been following Irish trad music over the years.

It first appeared in print as Judy’s Reel in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection published in Boston in 1883 and then in O’Neill’s, Music of Ireland (1903) as The Green Mountain. Its origins, however, are seemingly a good century before that and by the 1850s The Maid Behind the Bar was a dance tune favourite in the USA no doubt brought over by refugees from An Gorta Mór (the Great Irish Famine). As you can imagine, there are plenty of variations on the tune, particularly in the opening bars.

Those who remember the wonderful Scrap Saturday broadcast on RTÉ between 1989 and 1991 starring the late great Dermot Morgan (who also played Father Ted) may well remember this tune accompanying Morgan’s brilliant Charles Haughey monologues. Its opening notes serving as the musical cue for Haughey’s ensuing grandiose delusions, representing as it did at the time, the quintessential traditional Irish tune.

Once again we were very lucky to have Liam O’Connor play with us at our studio here at McNeela Instruments in Baldoyle.

Sheet Music for The Maid Behind the Bar

Sheet Music for the Maid Behind the Bar

ABC Notation

T: The Maid Behind The Bar

R: reel

M: 4/4

K: Dmaj

E|:FAAB AFED|FAAB A2de|fBBA Bcde|fdgf efdB|


|:faag fdde|fdad fdd2|efga beef|gebe geeg|

fgaf b2af|defd e2de|fBBA BcdB|[AFEF D2de:|[AFEF D4|]


Sheet Music with thanks to TheSession.Org

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    1. Hi Michael, it is a Roy MacMaghnuis Mopani Wood (Roy McManus Belfast) D Whistle. Struggling to solve the wood shortages however we hop to have one back in stock in the coming months.

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