CHAPTER 4: Dulcimers in the British Isles since 1800 > Dulcimers in Southern Ireland

Dr. Frank Jeal

Dr. Frank Jeal is English, a lecturer in Zoology at Trinity College, Dublin, and plays an instrument which came from England - Didcot, Berkshire - as, indeed, Andy Dowling's also seem to have done.

Nevertheless, his playing style owes much more to Irish music than it does to English, and most of his teaching and influence has been from Andy, and perhaps from other musicians at O'Donahue's, where he often plays in the evenings.

His repertoire consists of traditional dance tunes such as Boys of Oakhill (hornpipe), Rosin the Beau (as a waltz, using tremolo), Father O'Flynn (jig), a number of marches, but apparently, as yet, no reels; he does not favour the 30s and 40s popular-song repertoire of the English players, although he did play Angels from the Realms of Glory.

I found remarkable the naturalness with which he made the transition between discussing Maltese bagpipes in the scholarly corridors of Trinity, to singing rebel-songs in the public bar of O'Donahue's, and playing jigs and reels alternately with two pipers, a whistle-player, a fiddler, two banjo-players, a mouth-organ-player and a French girl playing an Irish harp: I may perhaps add that I felt a remarkable kinship with him as a result.