There has been a lot of competition for Jigs to Jacobites by Orfhlaith Ni Bhrian and Mick McCabe since this wonderful book arrived at our house. This is an excellent book if you have an interest in Irish music and dancing and the history of both. But much more than that, it is a beautiful book: McCabe’s illustrations are humourous and attractive and the layout is inventive and clever. Each set of pages is based on a tune and set dance, with musical notation along with short snippets of history and cultural anecdotes and details about the dance. Incidentally, there is a resemblance to Chief O’Neill (the book) which also is divided into sections based on the title of a traditional tune.
The work is thoroughly researched by Ni Bhrian and McCabe but the academic scholarship is worn lightly and never becomes over-bearing. That is what makes Jigs to Jacobites such a treat and why someone with an interest in the history (they have a nice section of Francis O’Neill) can enjoy it as well as a younger person who likes the music and dance.