Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week
Adult and Community Programming

The Francis O’Neill Irish Arts Week is a unique learning opportunity for children and adults. Taught by master traditional Irish musicians in residence for the week, students of every age will experience the magic of Ireland through its music, song and dance.

2018 teachers include Emily BerkenSeán Cleland, Aileen DillaneAlicia Guinn, Jesse LangenOisín Mac Diarmada, Nicole JavaajiJackie Moran, James Reilly.





Adult and Community Events

Monday, August 6
Irish American Heritage Center

Sounding Out Chicago in the Work of Captain Francis O’Neill
Dr. Aileen Dillane, University of Limerick

7-7:45: Presentation (Free and open to all - pre-registration required below so we know how many chairs we need)
8-9: Session (Free and open to all)

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“It is hard, if not impossible, to imagine what Irish traditional music might be like today if Francis O’Neill had not lived.”
-Nicholas Carolan Co-founder of the Irish Traditional Music Archive

Chief Francis O’Neill is a larger-than-life character in both the great story of the Irish in America and of Irish Music in the 20th Century. Born in 1848 in County Cork into a family filled with Irish music, song and dance, O’Neill left home at sixteen, and after many adventures arrived in Chicago in 1870, a year before the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. O’Neill joined the Chicago police department in July 1873 (age 25) eventually becoming the Chief of Police from 1901 to 1905.

He was a policeman all during the re-creating and re-building of Chicago after the Great Fire, an era in Chicago that was imbued with an air of innovative change, great excitement and a local, fierce entrepreneurial spirit.

Chief O’Neill’s passion was Irish music and during his years in Chicago as a policeman he sought out melodies from his fellow Irish immigrants  and notated them (most had never been written down before) self-publishing nine huge collections of tunes and stories between 1903 and 1924. When O’Neill was chief of police, he would go to any part of the city where he was told some one “had a tune.” Sergt. James O’Neill, who was no relation of the captain but could write out the notes usually accompanied him on these jaunts.”
With Dr. Aileen Dillane, the story of Chief Francis O’Neill is a real “Chicago Story” and in her presentation she will explore the ways in which ‘ Chicago’ is imprinted in O’Neill’s work, profoundly shaping his approach to Irish music. 


7-8:30: Master Class ($30)
8:30-9:30: Session (Free and open to all)

It’s all about the Groove! 
Exploring the tune in Irish Music, Dance and Song Master Class

Jackie Moran (Bodhrán), Alicia Guinn (Sean-nós dance), Seán Cleland (Fiddle), Oisín Mac Diarmada (Fiddle); Jesse Langen (Guitar), Aileen Dillane (Piano/Flute), James Reilly (Flute) and our special guest, legendary Chicago drummer, Tommy Masterson.

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, a singer or a dancer, or a person who just loves to listen, this invaluable and accessible discussion/workshop will guide you through some of the intricacies of Irish music.

In this workshop we will explore what we mean when we say that it's all about the groove. We will delve into how the tune relates to the dance, and how the best players and dancers manage to create a conversation and collaboration between the two. We will discuss the role that accompaniment plays, both rhythmic and harmonic, and how it is still evolving. Our expert teachers will provide insights through their individual approaches to rhythm as an interpretative element in traditional music performance, and help you to develop a keener awareness of how to preserve the timeless energy of reels, jigs, and hornpipes.

This master class is open to all: players who have a basic mastery of their instrument as well beginning players and any others interested in listening and learning are very welcome as well.

Irish American Heritage Center

Finale Recital and Grand Session

7-8:30: Recital (Free and open to all - pre-registration required below so we know how many chairs we need)
8:30-9:30: Session (Free and open to all)

Let's all of us, family, friends, Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week students of all ages, gather together at the Irish American Heritage Center and celebrate all we learned during the 8th annual Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week!  We'll have a finale recital for all kids and adults and family and friends are welcome.  The event will end with a grand finale session!

A big thank you to our 2018 sponsors:

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