Honoria Galwey

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This was the surreal weekend when my honours project into the musical life of a hitherto unknown relative in Donegal led to an unravelling of a life and times and a musical collection which, without my UHI degree, I would never have known about.

Tunes from ‘Old Irish Croonauns'(1910)- published by Boosey & Co. London

Honoria Tomkins Galwey (1830 – 1925) is an almost forgotten tune collector from Ireland whose  published collection of folk music and songs presents a unique snapshot of tunes played around the  Inishowen peninsula in Co. Donegal, Eire during the 1830s.

Listen to the ‘Dark Haired Girl’- a tune we found in Honoria’s published tune book – Irish Croonauns  (1910) played here by Roisin McGrory in the living room of my great, great, great, great aunt’s old house.


Passing on the knowledge of my relative  to my son and my niece, both musicians, was important. This is their heritage.

Playing a tune specially composed by guitarist Donald Knox (pictured) at her grave made her real . What would she have thought of this crowd with Scottish accents playing a tune with her name – a strathspey to remember the so strong  Scottish musical connection?


Irish Croonauns (1910) by Honoria Tomkins Galwey and published by Boosey & Co.