Tune of the Day: Speed the Plough
This reel is extremely widespread in English-speaking traditions, and can be found in the repertories of fiddlers throughout North America, Ireland, Scotland and England. Some say that it was composed in 1799 by John Moorehead of County Armagh, Ireland, a famous violinist who acquired some renown in the latter 18th century. “Speed the Plough” has been attributed to others as well, including English conductor and composer Sir Henry Bishop.
The phrase ‘God speed the plough’ is derived from a wish for success and prosperity in some undertaking, and is many centuries old, occurring as early as the 15th century.