Acclaimed Irish musician Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin will present this year’s Hibernian Lecture, “Chief O'Neill's Music of Ireland,” on Friday, Oct. 3 at 4:00 p.m. at the Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library.
Ó Súilleabháin is chair of music and founding director emeritus of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. Noted for his development of a uniquely Irish traditional piano style, he has recorded extensively with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and has released more than 10 CD recordings.
Captain Francis O'Neill (1848-1936), the topic of Ó Súilleabháin’s lecture/performance, was Chicago’s chief of police from 1901 to 1905 and was a great collector of Irish music. He gave his library of Irish history—or, as he called it, “Hiberniana”—to the University of Notre Dame in 1931. The O'Neill Collection includes all the important books on Irish music of the 18th and 19th centuries.
O’Neill was born in Tralibane, County Cork, and left Ireland in his teens. He spent some time at sea, a short time working as a shepherd in the Sierra Nevada foothills, qualified as a teacher in Missouri, and eventually married and settled in Chicago. He joined the Chicago police force in 1873.
“It’s wonderful that this year’s Hibernian Lecture features such a prominent scholar and a topic that’s so directly connected to the university,” said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. “I’m also delighted to work with other campus entities to celebrate two new Irish-related developments at Notre Dame.”
The Hibernian Lecture was instituted by the Cushwa Center in 1982 with a gift from the Ancient Order of Hibernians. This year, the Center is collaborating with the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, Hesburgh Libraries, and the Consul General of Ireland to highlight a new library acquisition and a new publication by Notre Dame Press.
Following the lecture, the Hon. Aidan Cronin, the Chicago-based consul general of Ireland, will host a reception in Rare Books and Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library). Irish writer Patrick McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy (1992) and Breakfast on Pluto (1998), both shortlisted for the Booker Prize, will be present at the reception for the announcement of the Hesburgh Libraries' acquisition of his papers.
Earlier this year Barry McCrea, Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of English and Romance Languages, received a Library Acquisition Grant from the Office of Research to partially fund the acquisition of the Patrick McCabe Literary Papers. Hesburgh Libraries contributed the remaining funds.
“Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy is a canonical Irish novel, and he has been at the forefront of Irish literature for at least three decades,” said Aedin Ni Bhroithe Clements, Irish studies librarian at Hesburgh Libraries. “His papers include the handwritten geneses of everything he has written over a period of 35 years, including early drafts, notes, and correspondence. His work is valuable not only for the light it casts on social change in modern Ireland but also for its connection to cinema, radio, and—most recently—television material.”
The reception will also celebrate the recent publication by Notre Dame Press of Coire Sois, the Cauldron of Knowledge: A Companion to Early Irish Saga by Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Irish Studies in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. Books will be available for purchase at the reception.
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