Patrick O’Neil was a young traditional Irish harper at the beginning of the 19th century. We have very little information about him, but I am putting him here on his own post so that we can start to think about who he was, and so that we can add more information as and when it turns up.Continue reading Patrick O’Neil
One of the problems with trying to trace these harpers in the 19th century records, is when there are multiple variant spellings of names. Sometimes it becomes unclear if we are dealing with two different people or not. This is a big problem if we are trying to reconstruct the life story of an individual.
Sometimes there is direct evidence that helps us to divide one name into two people (e.g. concerts by Mr. Rennie after the death of Valentine Rennie). Other times the record-keeping helps us to be sure that two names belong to one person (Hamilton Graham / Hamilton Gillespie in the Harp Society minutes, 1820-21). But often we just have to guess based on circumstantial evidence or hints.
We have references to James MacMonagal, and also to James McMolaghan. I really don’t know if they are two different people, or two different versions of the same name. This post is to draw together the references we have so far, and then to be a place where further references can be added in the future.Continue reading James MacMonagal
Mr O’Connor was a traditional Irish harper in the mid 19th century. He was originally from Limerick; he was blind, and was enrolled into the Irish Harp Society school in Belfast some time in the late 1820s or early 1830s. He had a very good performing career, touring and playing concerts usually with other traditional harpers, and also playing at private functions at the big houses of the nobility. Most of his work was in the South-East of Ireland.
This post is to draw together references and information about him, to try to piece together his life story.Continue reading O’Connor
Abraham Wilkinson was a traditional Irish harper in the first half of the 19th century. This post is to gather the few references we have to him, so we can start to build a picture of his life.Continue reading Abraham Wilkinson
We have a few references to a harper called Carolan in the first half of the 19th century. We are never told their first name. I do not know if these all refer to the same person or not. But this post is to gather these references and see if we can say anything useful.Continue reading Carolan
W. J. Winnington
W. J. Winnington was learning to play the traditional wire-strung Irish harp under Valentine Rennie, but he died when he was still a student, in 1833. I don’t think there is much more that we can say about him at this stage. But this post is to remember him, that he was one of our boys.Continue reading W. J. Winnington
I think that Joseph Craven was a traditional Irish harper, though actually I have no information about his background or musical lineage – it is possible he was a classical pedal harpist. But I think he is more likely to have been one of our traditional boys. In this post, we will go through what we do know about him and see what we think. If new material appears to prove me wrong, we can put it in the comments at the bottom.Continue reading Joseph Craven
Hugh Dornan was a traditional Irish harper in the early to mid 19th century. I thought at first that we knew almost nothing about him, and that this would be a very short post, but as I have started to line up the evidence it seems we may have quite a lot of information.Continue reading Hugh Dornan
James O’Neil was a traditional Irish harper in the early 19th century. We have only two sources which mention him. But we can join these two and try to find the context for them, to start to tell his story.Continue reading James O’Neil
Samuel Patrick was said to be a “bad harper” and arsonist. He had a long career working as a traditional Irish harper in Belfast and Dublin, including performing for Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Arthur. This post draws together what I know about him so far.Continue reading Samuel Patrick