From the recording Jefferson and Liberty
"Wind that Shakes the Barley"is of Irish or Scottish origin. It is actually a 16-bar reel, though we are playing it here as an air. "Sheebeg Sheemore," according to tradition and the musical historian, O'Sullivan (1958), was probably the first tune composed by blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). It seems that the young O'Carolan found favor at the house of his first patron, George Reynolds at Letterfain, Co. Leitrim. Reynolds (himself a harper and poet) told Carolan the legend of two nearby hills and the fairy bands who lived inside. These fairies had a great battle, and Reynolds encouraged Carolan to write a song about the event. Some versions of the legend have the mounds being topped by ancient ruins, with fairy castles underneath in which were entombed heroes from the battle between the two rivals. Irish music historian Donal Joseph O'Sullivan believes the air to be an adaptation of an older piece called "An chuaichin Mhaiseach" ("The Bonny Cuckoo").