Dunn Family Collection

O’Neill’s Wax Cylinder Recordings

Beginning in 1902, O’Neill recorded a number of prominent traditional Irish musicians on Edison wax cylinders. The story of how they came to be part of the Dunn family collection is an interesting one and well described on their site. In brief, when O’Neill’s son Rogers died at the age of 18 of meningitis, and in deference to his wife’s wishes, he decided to cease playing music at their home and entrusted the recordings to a friend. Eventually the recordings passed to Milwaukee fire captain and fellow Irish music enthusiast Michael J Dunn. After a period of 80 years lying forgotten in a Milwaukee attic, they were eventually rediscovered and converted to digital format. Now  they are available to be heard online.

I highly recommend taking a listen to these recordings if you have any interest in the history of Irish music or the life and times of Chief O’Neill. It is incredible to hear his voice introducing the great Patsy Touhey from over 100 years ago.

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