Source: Francis O’Neill in Waifs and Strays.1

Swinford piper James O’Brien (1823-1885) was a source of many tunes for O’Neill:

‘From personal knowledge the present writer can testify that “Jimmy” O’Brien was a fascinating performer on the old-style soft-toned Union pipes. We have listened to others who excelled him in execution and versatility, but no one had the faculty which he possessed of producing combinations and turns by a dextrous movement of the bottom of the chanter on his knee […] Many a pleasant hour the present writer spent listening to “Jimmy’s” delightful music and memorizing his tunes, many of which were not in circulation until given publicity through our efforts.’2

It is interesting to note that O’Neill credits himself as the source also for the original three-part version found in Music of Ireland memorized from O’Brien’s playing.

  1. Francis O’Neill (ed.), Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody, 2nd. ed, Chicago, Lyon & Healy, c1922. #196, p108.
  2. Capt. Francis O’Neill, Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Chicago, Regan Printing House, 1913, p234. The full section can be read here.