Irish Music Club (The)

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IRISH MUSIC CLUB, THE (An T-Aos Ceoil-Eirinnaig). Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (O'Neill/1850): AA'B (O'Neill/Krassen). Chicago's Irish Music Club, of which Captain Francis O'Neill was the chief officer, was founded in 1901 and grew out of the informal sessions of the Irish musical community. The club played for dances and picnics, but peaked early due to the volatile mix of temperament of the members. O'Neill states, "After less than eight years of inharmonious experience, the most enjoyable, companionable and representative association of Irish musicians, singers and dancers ever organized in America degenerated into a mere shadow of its former prominence" (Irish Folk Music, 1910).

Chicago's Irish Music Club, c. 1903++

Nicholas Carolan (1997), in his biography of O'Neill, relates that by 1912 not a trace of the club remained and that "few of the former members were on speaking terms," although O'Neill himself seems to have still be held in high regard by all. O'Neill himself severed ties with the club after an incident at a special meeting between the club officers in which an incident occurred (which Carolan surmises involved a gun being drawn, probably by one of the police officer members) when "nothing but the prestige of rank and authority enabled me 'to prevent a tragedy'. Fortunately news of this incident did not reach the press, and having narrowly escaped a serious scandal, I never attended another meeting."

++Front row, l-r: Garrett Stack, James Kerwin. Second row, l-r: John Conners, Barney Delaney, John Beatty, Tom Ennis, James Early, James Cahill, Adam Tobin. Third row, l-r: John McElligott, M. G. Enright, John Duffy, John Ennis, Charles O’Gallagher, William McCormack, Michael Dunlap, Thomas Dunphy, Fr. J. K. Fielding. Back row, l-r: Fr. W. K. Dollard, Ed Cronin, Rogers O’Neill, Francis O’Neill, Timothy Dillon, John McFadden, Michael Kissane, James Kennedy. (O’Neill, irish Minstrels and Musicians, 1913: 479) [1]

Source for notated version: Chicago fiddler Edward Cronin, originally from County Tipperary [O'Neill].

Printed sources: O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 151. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1498, p. 277.

Recorded sources:




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