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date: 17 November 2019

O'Neill, Francislocked

  • Nicholas Carolan


(b Tralibane, Co. Cork, Aug 28, 1848; d Chicago, Jan 28, 1936). Irish musician, collector and publisher. Born of farming stock in an Irish-speaking area, O'Neill showed early intellectual promise and played the traditional flute from youth. He went to sea as a teenager and sailed around the world before being shipwrecked and landed in America, where he joined the Chicago police force in 1873 and rose through the ranks to become Chief of Police 1901–5. With a fellow policeman James O'Neill (1863–1947, no relation) as scribe, he began from the 1880s preserving in manuscript melodies remembered from his childhood. He then expanded this activity to collecting Irish music from the many traditional Irish musicians resident in Chicago and from printed and manuscript sources. In 1903 he produced O'Neill's Music of Ireland: Eighteen Hundred and Fifty Melodies, the largest collection of Irish music ever published. This was followed by other Chicago-compiled tune collections, chiefly: ...

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