Fly by Night


I first heard this hornpipe in the early 1960s, played by Mr. Kieran Kelly, a wonderful accordionist from near Athlone, County Westmeath. The tune has been recorded by a number of musicians and has been given different titles, including 'The Low Level' and 'Fly by Night'. Settings of this hornpipe in two different keys may be found in Ryan's Mammoth Collection, where one is named 'Best Shot'. As my friend Peter Catto of Brookline, Massachusetts, cleverly suggested, 'When you fly by night, your best shot is to not fly at a lower level!' The tune is played on this track by Boston's own fiddle player, Brendan Bulger. Brendan gives the hornpipe a bouncy lift, clearly imparting his own unique musical imprint.


Séamus Connolly
Boston College Libraries

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Bulger, Brendan (fiddle) and Knox, Bill (guitar), “Fly by Night,” The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, accessed July 16, 2024,