James Molloy

James Molloy, or Jimmy Naoise as he was called locally, was a fine fiddle player from the townland of An Ghrafaidh. A highland associated with Jimmy, ‘The Back Door’ is still played locally and an interesting background to it has been relayed by Vincent Campbell.

”And the reason it was called the Back Door was, there was a school out behind our place in Graffy, and they used to have dances in it, and the house beside it they had dances as well, Molloys. It used to be beside the school, but the school is gone now. The Molloy girl was getting married to a local boy, and they had to organise poitín for the big night in the house. They wanted to keep it kind of quiet. If there was a man seen arriving with a big 5 gallon keg he would be noticed. Her father told them, bring in small gallon crockeries. There was a lime kiln beside every house. He said ‘I’m going to let on that I’m going to burn a kiln so I’ll put turf all around the kiln and inside in it, now he said, you hide it in the turf down in the kiln and I’ll keep it covered’. So he kept coming night after night and he had a gallon keg with him until he had enough. But the night of the wedding, your man Molloy had two sons. Molloy himself was a fiddle player. When he would notice the drink getting scarce in the kitchen – he would give them a wink, the two boys. There was a back door on the house to go out and get another keg in from the kiln. So this man was playing along with him, and he noticed in the end, that every time he played this highland, the boys went out and back with more poitín so the name he called the highland ever after was ‘The Back Door’.

The ‘Back Door Highland’ played by Vincent Campbell