[from 'Irish Minstrels and Musicians', Capt. Francis O'Neill, Chicago, Regan Printing House, 1913.]
IN A country like Ireland, where the people were proverbially vivacious and light-hearted and where every pastime, function and celebration was associated with music, the clergy could hardly be expected to remain uninfluenced by their musical environment. Nor did they in many instances. Not a few musically inclined had already acquired passable proficiency on various instruments, before their vocation had been determined. It college life may have tended to cheek their progress in music, the question of resuming its practice after ordination pre- sented no insuperable difficulties.
With such cases as those of Bishop Campbell of Kilmore and Bishop Touhy of Limerick before us, who can claim that playing on the bagpipe was any bar to clerical advancement?
That the clergyinen of England utilized the bagpipe in connection with the exercise of their sacred calling, though not in such a commendable way as Bishop Campbell, is evidenced by the following quotations from a rare work published in London in 1561:
“I knewe a priest (this is a true tale that I tell you and no lye) which when any ot his parishioners should be maryed, woulde take his Backe-pype and go teke theym to the Churche, playnge sweetelye afore them.
And then would he laye his instrument handsomely upon the Aultare, tyll he had maryed them and sayd Masse. Which thyng being done, he would gentillye bring them home agayne with Baeke-pype. Was not this Priest a true ministrell, thynke ye? For he did not counterfayt the Ministrell, but was one indede.”
Peasants and princes, parsons, priests and prelates were alike addicted to “playing the pipes”; nearly all but the first named being for obvious reasons restricted to the privacy ot their own homes while indulging in their musical hobbies. This restraint tacitly imposed by convention on rank and calling, has doomed many a hne musician to the obscurity of the fiowers in the wilderness which were “born to blush unseen.” Hence the brevity of their annals.
There is ample evidence in early Irish writings to show that the bagpipe was used in religious processions, and the eustoni of having pipers lead funeral proces- sions to the cemetery, and play a lament over the grave, survived down to the middle ot the seventeenth century at least. We must bear in mind, however, that only the warpipe or “Piob Mor” could be used for marching purposes. Even in this generation performers on the Union pipes have played sacred music at the celebration of Mass, as instanced elsewhere in this work.
Perhaps the most remarkable case in which the bagpipe has been utilized in the interests of religion is that mentioned by Cardinal Moran of Melbourne, Aus- tralia. In 1885 an English gentleman who happened to pay a passing visit to His Grace, Dr. James Brown, Bishop of Kilmore. In County Cavan, was astonished to see in the sitting rooni the picture of a Highland piper in full costume. Occupying the place of honor between.the pictures of two of Bishop Browns predecessors. His surprise was by no means lessened when informed that the “Highland Piper was none other than Right Rev. Dr. Campbell, a former bishop of the diocese. Who ruled the see from 1753 to 1769. In the penal days when his episcopate was outlawed he availed himself of his skill as a piper, and the costume which effectually disguised hiin while ministering to the spiritual wants of his
For the following dramatic story describing the means by which another
resourceful prelate utilized his musical talent in the interests of religion, we are
indebted to our versatile friend, Prof. W. H. Cahill, editor of The Chicago Citizen.
Towards the spring of the year 1875 the Right Rev. Timothy J. O'Mahony, a native of Cork, was Bishop of Armidale, Australia. He had been a student
at Rome and was a scholar of considerable distinction. His early days as a
priest had been spent in Cork, his native dioeese. where he succeeded beyond all
expeetations in elevating the youth of the large parish wherein he labored for
many years. His success having attracted the notice of the authorities in Rome,
led to his signal advancement.
In the early days of his episcopate in Australia he labored strenuously to
gather from his scattered flock, almost all of whom were his own countrymen,
sufficient funds to erect the most modest buildings for his church. The hard-
working prelate tried every means his prolific mind could devise to induce the men
of a Certain mining distriet to contribute, but the great trouble was that when he
called to that particular district not one of them could he find, although the mines
were filled with Irish workinen. Leading in their own way a miner's reckless
life, they always hid whenever their spiritual superior called to see them-
always battling him in his search.
The faithful bishop was in despair, not only for the funds he so much needed,
but inueh more for the spiritual eontlition of the poor fellows who seemed so
anxious to avoid him. At last a happy thought struck him, and the next time he
called at the camp he brought with him a fiddle upon which he was an accom-
plished performer. Upon entering the camp he divested himself of his Episcopal
insignia, and at once wentled his way slowly yet none the less surely among the
hills, playing every lrish air that long practice and skill had made him so bril-
liant a master of. The answer quickly came. First one head appeared, then
another over the knolls an<l hills. Still the bishop advanced until he reached
the opening of the mine by which time quite a large number of the boys had
gathered around. Some were crying at the sound of the once familiar airs; others
were dancing with joy at the tact that at last a real Irish musician had appeared
among them. Within another half hour every nian and boy with a drop of Irish
blood in his veins had appeared and was taking part in this unexpected and
most welcome treat.
However, all good things must come to an end, and at the opportune moment
the bishop in a most inipassionetl appeal to the love they bore their native Erin
revealed his identity. His victory was complete, and as the boys said to him
afterwards: - `Bishop' as the Yankees say, `You put one over on us that time.' U
Ever afterwards he was the most welcome visitor to the mining camp. He built
his churches and when Prof. Cahill last saw him before his death, he was shown
by the venerable prelate some very large nuggets of gold, the gifts of some one
or other of the men who in his early days did all they could to avoid meeting him.
Great indeed is the power of music over the lrish mind, and never was it
better illustrated than at the first meeting of the Irish miners of Arniidale, Australia, with the Right Rev. Timothy J. O'Mahony, their revered bishop.
This renowned musician, who flourished in the second quarter of the eight-
eenth century was appointed rector ot Lurgan, County Cavan, in 1737. As a
piper and composer, "Parson" Sterling, as he was called, was almost as famous
as "Piper” Jackson, who, though his junior by about a score of years, may be
called his contemporary.
Bunting tells us that he "composed many capital airs which he performed
on the bagpipes.” Jackson's compositions on the other hand were jigs, reels, and
hornpipes. Both are said to be the last who composed Irish melodies in the ancient
- traditional style.
The only one of the "Parsons'” airs now known by name is "The Priest of
Lurgan," but it is doubtful if its music or identity is known in this generation.
Catherine Martin of County Meath is mentioned by Arthur O'Neill as a good
harpist who confined herself to "modern compositions”, by "Parson”, Sterling.
Bunting. however, did not see fit to take down any of her tunes; consequently they
are all forgotten.
would probably have lived and died unknown to fame outside the confines of his
own parish but for his skill as a performer on the Union pipes.
He nourished between the years 1770 and 1790 according to Grattan Flood,
Was a native of County Wexford, but was affiliated with the dioeese of Kildare,
and served as assistant priest for twenty years in the parish of Killeigh in Kings
As a piper his ability must have been exceptional, otherwise the memory of
his reputation would hardly have survived the obliterating vieissitudes of time,
since his death in 1793 at the round Scriptural age of seventy-six years.
of the Episcopal Church, it appears, was a more enthusiastic but less discreet
votary of the fascinating Union pipes than Father Dempsey. According to Lady
Morgan, this reverend piper "was a marvelous performer on the Irish bagpipes,
that most ancient and perfect of instruments.”
He was a nephew of Charles Macklin, the celebrated actor and dramatist,
who was born in 1690 and lived to he one hundred and seven years of age. The
family name was McLaughlin, but owing to the difficulties his English friends
had in pronouncing it the uncle abbreviated it to Macklin in 1743. Naturally
enough his immediate relatives, including the subject of this sketch, followed his
Wit. originality, and eccentricity were in the Macklin or McLaughlin blood,
and this in a measure accounts for his whimsical prank of playing out his congre-
gation with a solo on the hagpipes after the service. For this breach of religious
decorum he was dismissed from his curaey in the diocese of Clonfert, County
This liberal and patriotic Protestant clergyman of Baltdaniel, County Cork.
Who was rector of Buttevant for many years, was greatly distinguished for his patronage and knowledge of Irish music. At the trienniel “sessions” or competitions of the Munter bards held at either Charleville, Conntjr Cork, or Bruree, County Limerick, beween the years 1730 and 1750, he was five times chosen president or umpire. Those meetings at which the prize winners in the various department of poetic competition were publicly crowned were eventually suppressed hy the operation of the penal laws.
The reverend gentleman was himself a very capable performer on the Irish harp, and at the time of his death, about the year 1770. Had in his possession no less than fifteen harps, bequeathed to him at various times by the minstrels as the last mark of respect and gratitude for his kindness and hospitality. During a temporary absence of the Bunworth family from home, a servant, hnding them Stored in the granary and not having any conception of their value or interesting associations, broke all of them up for firewood! His own harp, made in 1734 by John Kelly of Ballynascreen, County Derry, on the borders of Tyrone, came into possession of the noted writer, Thomas Crofton Croker, his maternal great- grandson. On the 1atter’s death in 1854 the harp was disposed of to an enthusi- astic harp collector of London. In his youth, John Philpot Curran was under financial and other obligations to the generous clergyman, whose musical genius has inimortalized his name.
When “Aleck” Nicolls was ordained a minister of the Established Church late in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, he was given a lucrative living in the barony of Carrigallen, County Leitrim, not far from Crossan, his birth- place. But the lady by whose influence the desirable gift had been obtained, it turned out, expected to secure the handsome clergyman for a brother-in-law.
Unaware of the “Big Parson’s” aversion to womankind notwithstanding his manly attractions, she felt mortified on his declining to marry her sister. Embit- tered by the miscarriage of her cherished scheme. She caused the cold and unresponsive parson to be deprived of the living which in her selfishness she had obtained for him. So he had to be satisfied with an uncoveted assignment at Kilgariff thereafter.
An incorrigihle woman hater, he consoled himself in the isolation of his rectory with the music of his beloved bagpipes, on which he had been taught to perform quite cleverly by his cousin, Augustus Nicolls, a local landlord. Often would he play for hours at a time in the solitude of his library, undisturbed by comment or applause. No less austere than Saint Kevin; no woman was ever permitted to invade the personage. His only servant or factotum being “Mickey” Byrne, who, like Dean Swift’s man, was something of a humorist in his way.
Between them, master and man did their own cooking. One morning while “Mickey” was presiding over the pots, he informed the parson that what meal he had wag insufhcient for the measure of water in the stirabout pot. After the parson had added another handful from the bag, “Mickey” slyly poured in more water and still complained of the thinness of their prospective breakfast. More meal was reluctantly supplied and more water followed it surreptitiously as before, until “Mickey” declared to the puzzled parson that the more meal he put in the thinner it got!
Of this distinguished performer on the Union pipes who was Bishop of Limerick from 1814 to 1828. little can be said except that it was under his tuition Charles Ferguson laid the foundation of his fame as an Irish piper on both sides of the Atlantic.
If the acquirements of the pupil are to be regarded as but the retieetion of the talents of the teacher, we must accord the endowed prelate high rank as a performer on the most distinctive of Irish musical instruments.
Tradition has it also that the generous prelate, recognizing young Ferguson’s talents, procured him suitable musical training. From the circumstance that the celebrated piper’s repertory was mostly confined to airs and sacred music. It would appear that his instruction was such as he would naturally receive under Bishop Tuohy’s tuition.
"Success, the mark no mortal wit,
Or surest hand, can always hit;
For whatsoeer we perpetrate
We do but row; we're steered by fate."
In contemplating Father Hemlock’s musical proclivities, and his versatility as a performer on a variety of instruments, one naturally speculates as to the factors which determined his calling.
This gifted priest was born in an Irish settlement about a dozen miles or so from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1855, his parents being natives of Kinsale, County Cork. As a result of his early environment among foreign – born pioneers he not only acquired a good knowledge of idiomatic Irish, but speaks the German lan- guage so correctly that his Irish ancestry is not suspected.
The writer remembers that when Father Hemlock was a curate at St. Brid- get’s Church, Chicago, in the early eighties, he could play on any instrument in the orchestra at the church fair. Charmed by John Hicks’ splendid performance on the Irish pipes, the reverend enthusiast took up the study of that difficult instru- ment. His youthful ardor, however, did not long survive the blighting influence of clerical isolation and exclusiveness, as far as the practice of Folk Music is concerned.
Nothing is so stimulating to the musical instinct as congenial companionship, and on the contrary nothing is so disheartening as the absence of it. Without appreciation and encouragement the most ardent musicians grow indifferent.
On the occasion of a recent visit to St. Patrick’s Church, Lemont, some twenty-eight miles from Chicago, a glance into the reetory from the veranda proved we were at the right piece, for there on the open desk lay a practicing chanter for the Highland pipes. During our brief stay, convincing proof of Father Hemlock’s linguistic and musical abilities were by no means few or incon- spicuous. Two ordinary cases in which reposed valuable violins graced two cor- ners of the dining room; the piano in another corner was crowned with a eornet; a hfe, piccolo, and keyed hageolet kept company less obtrusively in a bookcase, while a set of the Piob Mor or Highland bagpipes, and a neat ebony set of the Irish or Union pipes (made by Coyne) were carefully stored away on top.
An ideal Soggarth though he be – cheerfu1, kindly, and sympathetic – it seems little short of sinful and calamitous to maroon in an obscure American town a man of Father Hemlock’s exceptional artistic endowments.
Aroused from the lethargy of more than a score of years by the publication of O’Neill’s Music of Ireland, Father J. T. Walsh, pastor of St. Patrick’s parish, East Hampton, Connecticnt, opened up a correspondence with the writer. It turned out that the good priest, a native of County Waterford, was a great lover of Irish music and a line hddle player in his younger days. Marooned for a quar~ ter of a century among the New England Yankees, he had lost interest in almost everything but the spiritual welfare of his congregation.
Desirous of helping along the good work of preserving Ireland,s musical remains, the patriotic Sagurt forwarded pages of manuscript tunes which he had personally written out from the pent-up stores ofghis memory. One gem in particular has been einbalmed in our later publications as “Father Walsh’s Hornpipe.”
An examination of Dr. Petrie’s Collections of Irish Music discloses the fact that no less than twenty-hve fugitive melodies were obtained from Father Walsh, parish priest at Sneem, bordering on Kenmare Bay. It appears that his reverence, an enthusiastic musician, had compiled a manuscript collection of Irish music, from which Dr. Petrie was welcome to select tunes at pleasure. It is generally believed that he was the original of A. P. Graves’ “Father O’Flynn.”
“He was remarkable for his great charity to the poor, and` repaired sets of pipes for all comers free of cost. If blessings do any good, he certainly obtained an abundant supply.”
Such were the words of one who knew intimately the amiable Rev. James Coodman, Canon of Ross, and Professor of Irish in Trinity College. Dublin Vvhat better eredentials could be presented at the gates of Paradise? Universally respected wherever known for his sterling qualities of head and heart, Canon Coodman came prominently into the linielight when the Gaelic League launched the Irish Revival. Irish music, games, and pastimes had declined almost to the vanishing point. The oldtime traditional musicians were seldom seen at fair or feast; their instruments were put away and not a few of them, blind or helpless, found a humiliating refuge in the poorhouse.
All through those long years of national decay Canon Goodman continued to indulge his taste and love for music, and his favorite instrument was the Irish or Union pipes, upon which he had become an excellent performer.
The circumstance of a man of his cloth – a canon of the Established Church – being an accomplished Irish piper, naturally attracted public attention, and the esteem in which he had always been held grew into admiration; undiminished to the day of his death, January 18, 1896.
He was born at Dingle, County Kerry, in the year 1828, and he grew up in that most western town in Ireland, where he acquired his mastery of the Irish language. His father and grandfather had been reetors of Dingle, although the latter Rev. John Goodman also held the family living of Kemerton, in Gloucestershire, England.
All members of the Goodman family spoke Irish fluently and conversed in it even when visiting other countries, so that the future professor, always modest and democratic, had no trouble while associating intiniately with his schoolmates and their people in picking up the airs and tunes which formed the nucleus of his manuscript collections, now deposited in Trinity College Library. In this respect he enjoyed exceptional opportunities in the acquaintance of Eugene Whelan, a piper of renown, brother of Michael Whelan, no less distinguished as a fiddler.
His first assignment after ordination was the curacy of Ardgroom, Castletown, Berehaven, and it Was While there he commenced the study of the Union pipes, according to Mr. Wayland of the Cork Pipers’ Club.
Few indeed are those who acquire command of any musical instrument, particularly the Irish pipes, who did not commence the study in early life. Curate Goodman was an exception, for although he was a fine lluter since boyhood, he did not begin to practice on the set of pipes which he obtained from his fellow curate, Rev. John Holahan, now dean of Ross, until he was past thirty years of age.
Self-taught in music and in the delicate art of making reeds and guills, he overcame difficulties which are the despair of most pipers. His skill and generosity soon made his house the Mecca to which many a poor, perplexed piper bent his Weary steps to have his instrument put in order, and none was ever disappointed.
From “Tom” Kennedy, an old Kerry piper who followed him to Ardgroom, his son – Dr. Goodman – tells us his father took down several hundred tunes not previously reduced to musical notation, and he never neglected an opportunity of collecting unrecorded strains from wandering minstrels.
After a few years at Abbeystrewry, to which parish he had been transferred from Ardgroom in 1867, he was promoted Canon of Ross, and appointed Pro- fessor of Irish in Trinity College, Dublin.
In this historic institution, “Anglicising denationalizing Trinity,” as some are pleased to term it, he kept up his practice on the pipes, usually in concert with John Hingston, the steward, one of his old-time parishioners near Skibbereen, who Was also addicted to this form of enjoyment. Members of the faculty were by no means the least enthusiastic of the privileged audience which met on those occa- sions in the room of Joseph Marshal], a most genial and intelligent man of musical and antiquarian tastes, who succeeded to the stewardship on Hingston’s death in 1893.
“Generous, genial, hospitable Goodman – how well I remember his appear- ance in his rooms in the college,” writes Mr. M. Flanagan; “his fine set of pipes with crimson cover set off by his white necktie, while with his foot*often with his two feet clad in plain shoes--he kept time to his splendid music.” On his visits to the old rectory at Skibbereen it was no uncommon sight to see the reverend piper seated comfortably under the shade of the trees in the lawn, where his friends and neighbors were always welcome to enjoy his company and his music. Besides it was his custom to accompany his playing With songs in Irish, of which he had an abundance, for he could sing in the old traditional way which still survives among the glens of West Munster.
His rendering of “The Fox Chase” was a remarkable performance and the expression he gave to some of the plaintive old Irish airs could only be accom- plished by one who had a thorough knowledge of the Irish language, character, and feeling, and also musical perceptions of a high order.
Quite noticeable was the way his face lighted up with an almost ecstatic vision, as touching the notes of his instrument he passed on from melody to melody, and from tune to tune, as though he could not stop, he was in such rapture.
His last public performance was in connection with a lecture delivered by Sir Robert Stewart, on the Irish and Scotch bagpipes.
His funeral, which took place January 21, 1896, was of “enormous dimensions,” according to the local press. The procession composed of all classes and creeds in the community was singularly sad and imposing. Signs of universal grief were everywhere observable and all business was suspended as a mark of respect to the memory of the venerated canon, who endeared himself to all by his charity, humility and kindly disposition.
His generosity to the poor left him without wealth at the end. Yet he died rich, for money could not buy the esteem and respect of his eountrynien which were his without limit or reserve.
From the statement that Canon Goodman’s grandfather, rector of Dingle, also held the living of ??Kemerton, Gloucestershire, we would naturally infer that he was a native of England. Be that as it may, it is certain that the Goodmans have been settled in Ireland since early in the seventeenth century. The name appears in the list of English Puritan colonists who landed at Kinsale on the invi- tation of Lord Cork after the departure of the Spanish fleet. Based on information which proved to be incorrect it was stated in Irish Folk Music, A Fascinating Hobby, that P. Goodman, Professor of Music in Central Training College, Dublin, was Canon Goodman's son. The latter’s only surviving son is Dr. Frank Goodman, in practice at Brigg, Lincolnshire, England.
It appears that Rev. Thomas Goodman, born in 1657, was percentor of Ross, and that his son Richard was viear of Ballymodan in 1692, and for years thereafter figured extensively in church affairs in that part of the country. Another son, Thomas, was vice-choral of Ross, “where he was licensed to keep school at his residence in the churchyard.”
When Riehard’s wife Hannah died, the cofhn was laid in the family vault at Ross Cathedral. Before daylight next morning, the sexton, who thought the diamond ring he noticed on her finger would be of more service to him than to the dead, entered the vault, with a view to gaining possession of it. Finding its removal no easy matter, he gave the finger a twist to break it off from the hand, but was startled by a groan, which paralyzed him for the time. Reassured by the stillness, he renewed the attempt, but when he bent the finger backwards the “corpse” sat bolt upright and with a yawn inquired, “Where am I?” The ghoulish sexton didn’t wait to answer the lady’s polite question but fled in terror.
Realizing her predicament, the poor woman, weak as she was, and aided by the lantern which the sexton had dropped in his fright, made her way to the house of her brother-in-law, Rev. James Goodrnan, just outside the churchyard. Imagination only can picture what followed, but it is certain she lived happily with her husband for many years thereafter and gave birth to a son whose life-long boast it was that “he was born after his mother was buried.” The story in all its gruesome details can be found in Bennett’s History of Bandon, pages 568-72.
Far from regarding the practice of music and dancing inimical to the welfare of his flock, like so many of his cloth, Father John Scallan, P. P. Of Bree,
County Wexford, not only encouraged both but indulged in the pleasures of melody himself. Born in 1812, he was ordained in 1839, and died in 1895 at the patriarchal age of eighty-three, beloved and lamented by all, for he was the typical “Sogarth Aroon” of whom the poets loved to sing. He was a votary of the violin during the greater part of his lifetime, and swung the how with grace and skill to a ripe old age. Although a man of Hereulian physique, he was during the later years of his life subject to recurring attacks of nervous prostration.
When confined to his room in such eases, he found some solace in playing the fine old airs of his country, the “Coolin” and the “Blackbird” being his special favorites.
Father Scallan organized and supplied the funds to finance a fife and drum band at Bree in 1879, which has been doing service in every popular movement since then. Not only did he tolerate farm house and barn dances on winter even- ings, but encouraged such recreations. When the mummers dressed out for the winter season’s practice, they always honored the kindly canon by giving their first public pertormances in front ot his halidoor, and right hospitably did he entertain them.
Thomas Whitney of Merton Lodge, near Bree, a Protestant gentleman who prided himself on his accomplishments as a violinist, once met Father Seallan in friendly conference over a business transaction. Although Whitney lived the life of a recluse and was otherwise eccentric, the priest’s affability and charm of manner – and indeed one could not name a good quality of mind or heart he did not possess – won his esteem to such an extent that he took his fiddle from the ease and played some choice selections for the entertainment of his reverend guest, and then proffered the fiddle to Father Scallan for a return of the compliment.
“Old Whitney” as he was commonly styled, listened with rapt attention to his guest’s rendering of “The Coolin” and “The Last Rose of Summer.” Evidently much impressed with the performance, and feeling that he should do something out of the ordinary to surprise his rival and assert his own fancied superiority, he took the fiddle in his right hand, and the bow in the left, and played a tune with as good grace and as much expression as if he had been handling the instrument in the ordinary way. To most persons this story may seem improbable, but the feat has been practically duplicated by Patrick Cummins, one of Whitney’s neighbors. Cummins lost his left hand by a mishap while engaged in blasting a rock, but the genius of music was so strong that by reversing the strings and making some small structural alterations in his hddle, he nullified the effects of his mis- fortune. An appliance of his own invention by which the bow could be attached to his left wrist enabled him to acquire a wonderful degree of proficiency and maintain his enviabie reputation as a musician, although by no means a young man when the accident occurred.
Canon Scallan was the lifelong friend of the renowned “Jemmy” Sinnott, a sketch of whose life will be found in another chapter. Together they would visit the band room “to see how the boys were getting on.” “O’Donnell Abu” played on the highest pitch attainable on the fife was the priest’s favorite, while to “Jemmy’s more sensitive ear it was excruciating.
The good pastor liked to be present at the annual ball inaugurated by the Total Abstinence Association, and our correspondent, Mr. Whelan, assures us that his exuberant sallies of wit and humor were by no means the least enjoyable features of the entertainment. He always contended that the tone of his fiddle was much improved coming from the hands of Sinnott after the famous “Jemmy” had manipulated it for an hour or two.
Canon Scallan was a native of Ballyvalloo, barony of Ballaghkeen, County Wexford, and as a priest, entering into the home life of his people in a spirit of accord and helpfulness, it is little wonder that he was universally respected and revered, and exercised a gentle yet effective infiuence for the best interests of the community.
Protestant rector of Drumlane, Belturbet, County Cavan, was an expert and enthusiastic performer on the German flute.` A native of Ballynascreen, Londonderry, he was a graduate of Trinity and was, according to his son, George A. M.
Leech of San Francisco, a teacher in that institution. Possessed of fine literary ability, he contributed artieles on various subjects to the press for many years.
Another clergyman to whom Dr. Petrie Was indebted for six melodies was the subject of this sketch. As the tunes were obtained in the counties of Donegal, Tyrone and Kilkenny by the Rev. Mease, the limits of his circuit must be left to conjecture.
Coming down to our own times, who is more prominent in the realms of traditional Irish music than Dr. Henebry, former ptofessor of Gaelic in Georgetown University at Washington, D. C., present professor of Gaelic at University College, Cork, and author of a treatise on Irish music, embracing a dissertation on ancient scales, modes and keys. Born in Portlaw, County Waterford, where Irish
language, music and tradition still survive. And possessing the musical instinct, he became a fine freehand fiddler in his youth.
Among the happiest days of our life were those in which the genial doctor favored us with his music at our residence in Chicago in 1901, playing solo or in concert with the Irish-American pipers, fiddlers and fluters whom he subsequently immortaiized in current literature.
Not less distinguished as a fiddle player than his friend Dr. Henebry was the amiable and unassuming Father Dollard, brother of the brilliant poet-priest, Rev. James B. Dollard.
A native of the parish of Mooncoin and born in the early sixties, he learned to play the fiddle and flute equally well, and being endowed with a fine voice he was a welcome acquisition to the parish choir.
When the writer was favored with his acquaintance, Father Dollard was rector of a parish at Saint Johns, New Brunswick, British America, and while the ”Mac”, and “O” proclaimed the Irish ancestry of the majority of his congregation, the traditions and sentiments of their forebears were conspicuous by their absence.
What wonder then that an Irish priest, yearning for more congenial associations, felt like a schoolboy on vacation when mingling with members of the Irish Music Club during his visit to Chicago in 1901.
A born musician, he was equally at ease performing on either fiddle or flute.
Faultless in time and tone and With a repertory of tunes as select as it was exten- sive, Father Dollard endeared himself to the Irish music devotees who met for mutual enjoyment at the hospitable home of Sergt. James Kerwin on Wabash Avenue. The kindly and talented clergyman died in the prime of life a few years later.
Along in the seventies of the last century, his reverence, then curate in the parish of Rosenallis, in the barony of Tinnahinch, Queens county, was a violinist of recognized ability, while
Of the adjoining parish ot Clonaslee was equally famous as a performer on the flute.
Parish priest of said parish, was also an accomplished fluter. He had organized a band to play in the choir, and when mass was over, they struck up lively music as the congregation tiled out of the chapel in deference to the pastor’s inclination.
As he died intestate his property, by no means inconsiderable, it is said, was claimed by the government under Maynooth regulations.
A native of Kilkenny, now pastor at Goldfield, Nevada, not only can play the riddle, but can when in the humor dance a double and reel with the best of them.
Of course these cherished acconiplishinents were acquired before his college days, but whatever may be said of “the light, fantastic toe,” it is not likely that his skill with the bow will be ever in abeyance.
A native of County Fermanagh. Now assigned at St. Patrick’s Church, Lewiston, Maine, is as devoted to the music of his native land as he is loyal to his creed. Practically self-taught, he is an excellent violinist, but unlike the majority of our hest traditional performers he is an adept at playing from the printed score.
Were Irish musicians in general as liberal and practical in their patronage as Father Maguire, who buys – not borrows - publications as suit his fancy, the interests of Irish music would he much enhanced.
In bringing this chapter to a close. It may appear ungenerous to ignore Father Fielding, the Chicago priest so widely known as a proponent and promoter of traditional Irish pastimes.
Of course we all know what he can do to the “Modhereen Rua” when he gets his trusty flute adjusted to the proper angle athwart his beaming countenance – the version of it he learned at Mooncoin, County Kilkenny, where he was born nearly forty years ago.
No shrinking shyness deters the display of James K’s musical talents; nor is there anyone endowed with the divine affiatus more keenly alive to the applause which greets his musical performance.
However we may view in conspectus the Saint Patrick’s night entertainments which his reverence has provided for years; there can he no question of their Success. As an advertiser he has nothing to learn, for like the thrifty Irish jobber. If he had only a banabh, he’d be in the middle of the fair with it. Halls, including the Auditorium, which yawn with vacant seats when grand opera, and concerts, and symphonies conducted by the most noted leaders constitute the attractions, have been filled to overflowing repeatedly by audiences eager to enjoy Father Fielding’s “Night in Ireland.”
So long as achievement is the goal and glory of human endeavor, it is “hats off” to the man who succeeds.