Adventurous Irish Violins

This is a popular musical motif found throughout the scores of adventure movies and TV shows.

The classical stereotype of the Irish Immigrant throughout the colonial era (and by extension, the Irish farmer) is an earthily honest man who is one with the world around him, simultaneously able to accept the hardships of life and take any hardship life throws at him, resulting in a robust, innocent and pure optimism that anything is possible through joyful, honest hard work.

Therefore, if a composer wishes to evoke that spirit of optimistic idealistic wonder (especially through montage of True Companions working together for a common cause), the joyfully whimsical strains of the Irish fiddle are invoked to stir similar emotions in the audience.

Note that this musical motif does not always have to apply to settings in Ireland or even have any Irish characters; regardless of the presence or absence of Irishmen in the story, it will subconsciously take the audience on an emotional level back to the classical romanticism of the colonial pioneer era, where there is still an unknown adventure in every horizon, ready for your bravery and optimism to challenge.

Obviously, a popular staple of the Hard Work Montage.


  • The score of James Horner for the James Cameron film Titanic (1997) celebrates the resilience and optimism of the Irish spirit with liberal and frequent use of this trope. It becomes especially heartwarming when you remember that Horner is himself Irish, and Titanic was an Irish ship. Built in Belfast, many of her crew and third class passengers were from that community, and the sinking hit them hard.
  • Far And Away, scored by John Williams, underscores The Determinator spirit of the Irish-battlers played by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman with this trope.
  • The Hard Work Montage sequences and "exploration" sequences for the anime Bodacious Space Pirates deliberately uses this trope to take you back to the Golden Age of Piracy, albeit in a futuristic space setting.
  • Similarly, the musical score for Master and Commander (starring Russell Crowe) loves using this in its more optimistic sequences, though justified as it is set in the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Mai-Otome uses more playful variations on this to invoke the optimistic adventurousness of our Country Mouse heroine, Arika Yumemiya.
  • Used in Earth Maiden Arjuna during Juna and Tokio's Hard Work Montage at the mountain man's home.
  • Unsurprisingly, this features prominently in the musical score of the stage show Riverdance.
  • Braveheart is in love with this trope; its a wonderful example of its flexibility. For although the heroes are Scots (plus an Irishman), the passionate strains of said trope still do much to evoke the energetically violent and rapacious spirits of many Irish and Highlander-Scots sub-cultures.
  • Befitting the adventurous setting, the musical score of Pixar's Brave makes use of it in its soundtrack.
  • Practically the entire musical score of the Heroic Fantasy anime Fairy Tail is made of this trope;
  • Spice and Wolf emphasizes the hard-working and industrious nature of our travelling merchant heroes by occasionally using this in its soundtrack.
  • Similarly, ths is invoked in the heartwarming musical score of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland to accentuate Totori's youthfully enthusiastic idealism.
  • Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto uses these to invoke the innocent wonder of a young magician trying to find her place in the world.
  • CLANNAD frequently has this as a nod to the Irish connections of its namesake, as well as to invoke a sense of whimsical romanticism and everyday wonder.
  • Sherlock Holmes features Irish violins in some scenes, notably a version of "The Rocky Road to Dublin" during Holmes' boxing match, performed by the veteran Irish ensemble The Dubliners.
  • Tangled has this scene to "Kingdom Dance", you can even see the violin and its player at 2:25.