Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 3, Page 2

Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 3, Page 2
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Na Píobairí Uilleann
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Chairman, NPU
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Píobaire, An
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(21)CANON GOODMANAn account of James Goodman, Canon of Ross and Professor of Irish in Trinity College, DubI in isgiven in ONeills Irish Minstrels and Musicians, where an excellent photograph of the Canon ispublished. Further information is afforded by An Seabhac (Padraig 0 Siochfhradha) in a noteentitled An tOllamh Seamus Goodman agus a Mhuinntir (Professor James Goodman and his people)in the Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society (XIII, pp. 286/91)Goodman was born in Co. Kerry at Baile Aimin Treantach, which is about three miles west ofDingle. His father, Thomas Chute Goodman, was Rector of Dingle from 1824 to 1864; his grand-father, John, had filled that office from 1780 to 1824.The district in 1824, when James was born, and for many years after, was wholly Irish speakingand James grew to manhood in a time when the traditional pastimes of story telling, singing anddancing flourished. Before he left home to study at Trinity College he had already taken up theflute. He was thirty years old when he began to learn the pipes.Even as a young man he had gained a reputation for Gaelic scholarship and became a member ofthe Council of the Ossianic Society when only twentyFour years of age. It is thought he wasengaged on preparing for publication an old text of Cath Fionntragha (the Battle of Ventry)when that society collapsed. The period 1860 to 1896 was not propitious for the publication ofworks in the native language and Goodmans only work in that field was a small hymn book. Hecorresponded with Sean 0 Dalaigh, the publisher of The Poets and Poetry of Munster andexchanged the words of songs in Irish with him and other correspondents. Although he notedhundreds of song airs it did not seemingly cross his mind to compile a collection of songs, thewords with music, a great pity since he alone among music collectors had the three qualificationsnecessary to carry out the task properly he was musically literate, an Irish scholar and anexcellent piper.He had an abiding passion for collecting music, even getting people to sing, whistle or play sohe might note the airs. Whenever he returned to the old home, pipers and other musicians flockedto meet him. One known as Andy Pioba ire was a frequent visitor. Occasionally he gathered inthe local people for a night of dancing and singing and he provided the music for the dancers on hispipes. Similarly in Skibbereen he was on the most friendly terms with the local people and there,too, the pipers sought him out, certain of his help in almsgiving and in getting reeds and quills torespond properly.An Craoibhin Aoibhinn (Douglas Hyde) relates in his Mise agus An Connradh (The Gaelic Leagueand I) how as a student in T.C. D. he met Goodman. The professor, Hyde declared, was the bestpiper he had ever heard. He told Hyde he had got over 700 tunes from an old blind piper. Theblind man used walk up and down the room thinking and used call out suddenly A mhaistir, taceann eile agam (Sir, I have another one) and he would then play the new tune.Hyde corrects an impression given by ONeill that Goodman was sympathetic to the nationalrevival, beginning towards the end of the last century. Goodman did not participate in the Irishmovement and although he had a love for the language he was not, Hyde says, nationally minded.Andy Pioba ire mentioned above was a brother of the old blind piper, Tom Kennedy, from whomGoodman wrote down so much music. (Several hundred tunes, however, would be nearer the markthan seven hundred). In volume one of his collection Goodman wrote that his collection of theMunster dance music was written down, for the most part, from the playing of Thomas Kennedy, expiper. The reason for this unusual description may be found in the story recorded in the IrishFolklore Commission (ms. 1331, pp. 166/7) and hereunder reproduced with the kind permission ofthe Director:Bhi anapiopaire eile ins an ait seo, Tomas 0 Cinneide, driothair dAindi Cinnidi,piopaire, a bhi ar a gCarraig. Aniar 0 Chathair a Treanntaig ab ea a muintir saradtangadar ar a gCarraig. Nuair g stopadh Tomas den cheol d iontuig se n-a shup.2
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Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 3

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