O'Neill - Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 3

O'Neill - Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 3
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periodical Publisher
periodical Editor
O'Neill, Capt. Francis
periodical Title
O'Neill - Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody
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cor haLtasceoLtOirztirzeannCONTINUING THE WORK OF FRANCIS ONEILLCearn6 Beigrave,Baile na Manach,Co. Bhaile A tha CliathFon: 800295T(Proinsias 0 Neill molta d(mbeinnse im thost. Bhra ainmfaoi mheas agus faoi on6 r i m asc ceoltoirina hEireann lehun a sheal, agus is ag dul i meid ata an meas agus an onirud o l a bhais. Ach is fin saothar U(Neill, agus saothar nalagch eile a thug a saol ag obair ar son ceoil agus cultuir nahEireann a lua agus a ath-mholadh an la ata inniu_ann, maro tharla an ceol ti e faoi mheas i mbajie agus i gcein, nileirdo aosog na linne seo go raib j an ceol ceanna i mbaol a chailltecrIjla sc& bliain d shin. Cuis athais duinn mar sin, ceann de -leabhra Ui Neill Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody leabhar ati as-chlo le fada a bheith ath-thoillsi ag anMercier Press.The publication of Captain Francis ONeills severalworks on Irish music, particularly The Dance Music ofIreland also known amongst traditional musicians as theOne Thousand and One or simply The Book must rankas one of the most vital influences in the history of Irishtraditional music in the 20th century. Another very signifi-cant factor was the virtual flood of 78 recordings of artistessuch as Paddy Kihloran, Tom Morrison, James Morrison and,particularly, of Michael Coleman the great Sligo fiddler.ONeills books and the recordings on wax of exiled musiciansfound their way into thousands of Irish homesteads in thefirst half of the century. They served as a guide and inspira-tion in days when it was neither profitable nor socially popularto be involved in discussion on the finer points of reel playing.The country was poor, and racked by apathy and emigration,and Irish musicians were more likely to find a receptiveaudience in Camden town, Liverpool, New York or Bostonthan in mostIrish towns.Francis ONeill had passed on to a better world, asindeed had Michael Coleman, and that doyen of Irish pipers,Johnny Doran, when, in !951, a group of musicians fromthe Pipers Club in Thomas Street, Dublin, and from themidland cqunties, came together to discuss the idea of anational festival of Irish music. ONeills writings convey theimpression of a man who valued the lore of the music-men asmuch as he enjoyed the swing and lift of their music.There is no doubt that he would have felt very much at homeamongst the ladies and men who gathered for those historicmeetings in Mulhingar and Dublin in 1951 and 52. It is amatter of record that many of. them were well versed in theteachings of the Irish musicians Bible ONeills OneThousand and One. In the tradition of ONeill, too, it wastheir wont to punctuate their labours in the cause of Irishmusic with enthusiastic sessions of music-making; and worthysessions they surely were too, for they numbered in theirranks the piping Rowsomes of Dublin, Reynolds, Seery and0 Muineach n of Westmeath, Murray and MacElvaney ofMonaghan, musicians from Sligo, Tipperary, Galway, Clare,etc. etc. From those early meetings came the inspiration,and indeed the practical endeavour, which resulted in thefirst Fleadhanna Cheoil and the rise of Comhaltas CeoltoiriEireann.How close those founder members were to the spiritof ONeill may be guaged by comparing ONeills dedicationin Waifs and Strays, to No. 4 in the list of Aims and Objectsof the newly founded body. The former reads Dedicatedto the Spirit of The Gaelic League and The Reahisation of itsPatriotic Aims: The Comhaltas objective is as follows: Toco-operate with all bodies working for the restoration ofIrish culture.Those first members of Comhaltas planned and workedwith enthusiasm and diligence. They saw the need for highstandards, for research, for publications, for education. Theysaw, too, the need to preserve the spirit of the music, and thedelightful variety and diversity of regional and personalstyle. The history of Comhaltas, over the past thirty years(1951-1981) may very well seem to those who have beenclose to it through all or most of those years, as one long,seemingly endless, session of Irish music, with breaks andinterludes every now and again for classes, seminars, work-shops, summer schools, publications, tours, discussions each in its own way helping to propagate the Ancient Music.but with the whole providing a pattern and framework andindeed a community where Irish music and Irish culture andfolklife can flourish and grow and develop.Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann from its foundation in1951, has grown to become a great force in Irish culturallife. Among its achievements are:-* 40 festivals (fleadhanna cheoil) of Irish traditionalmusic each. year;* 600 classes teaching Irish traditional music;* Regular courses for beginners, teachers and adjudicators;* Diploma Course for teachers;* Fleadh Nua colourful festival of traditional entertain-ment;* Scoil Eigse - Summer College of Irish traditional music,song and dance* Tionol Cheoil recreational/educational weekend atGormanston College;* Seisiun na Samhna a Halloween week-end festival;* Culturlann na hEireann Irish Cultural Institute;* Publication of Treoir the magazine of Irish traditionalmusic, song and dance, six times yearly, together withTutors and other publications;* Extensive Summer scheme of native entertainment forvisitors over 500 performances;* Colour film of CCE activities;* Records of native music and song published each year;* Annual Cultural Tours of the United States, Canada,Britain and Ireland;* Extensive scheme of music collection from the oldermusicians;* Advisory service on the native culture of Ireland;* Over 500,000 people attend Comhaltas functionsannually.
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