Rose O’Connor RIP

Rose O’Connor RIP

I just heard on a clare fm archived program (june 10) that Rose O’Connor has passed away.

From what I have read - in particular the notes from Gerry O’Connor’s
Journeyman album - Rose O’Connor was an important teacher,
particularly for the people in County Louth and surrounding area.

See also

Now - I’m an outsider who knows nothing, but it would be nice to use
this tool - The Session - to record a few anecdotes from those who
were influenced by her. Over to you; that’s all I can say, really.

Re: Rose O’Connor RIP

she taught me in the ’80’s and was a lovely woman - though if you hadn’t practised she would let you know. The day I passed my driving test I drove for the 1st time to my lesson in Patrick Street Dundalk and when I returned to the car an hour later I realised I had locked my keys in the car. Rose had the whole street out helping me break into the car. Hilarious now but at the time……

Re: Rose O’Connor RIP

I’ve only heard the name mentioned in relation to music from the border area [Louth, Down.]

Jim McAuley might have a yarn or two though.

Very sad this, so many of the great legends are beginning to give into the test of time now. Lets hope the current generation can keep it going just as well.

Re: Rose O’Connor RIP


Rose O’Connor, 1921-2008

The death took place on June 8th of Rose O’Connor one of the country’s most renowned fiddle teachers who, through her teaching and love of the Irish music, has left a legacy of fine traditional musicians that will remain for generations.

Rose who was aged 87 resided at 10 Patrick Street the house into which she moved after her marriage to her late husband Peter and within whose walls hundreds were introduced to Rose’s remarkable teaching skills and came to love the sweet sounds that a well played fiddle can make.

Originally from Moynalty, Rose’s family moved to Ladyrath, Wilkinstown in Co. Meath where she grew up and where she first developed her interest in music and fiddle playing within her family. As a young girl, her talent was recognised through prizes won at Fleadhs all over the country and she was soon invited to join the Emerald Ceilí Band which, even then, was gaining a reputation that still exists as one of the fine exponents of ceilí music in the country.

Like many if her generation, Rose had to take the emigrant boat to England, working in London as a seamstress for almost five years. Musical ambitions had to be sidelined in the effort to earn a living but the skills that Rose acquired as a seamstress were invaluable in later life in providing for her young family.

Fate played a role in Rose settling in Dundalk for she met her husband Peter whilst visiting her sister in Dundalk while on holiday from London and they eventually set up home in Patrick Street.

Rose was soon enticed to take up the fiddle again and joined the Cuchulainn Ceili Band in which her brother-in-law, Joe Dunne also played. The band toured the dance halls of the country and Rose would frequently arrive home in the early hours of the morning from a dance in some remote part of the country to care for her children.

After the birth of her third child, Rose abandoned the demands of touring with the band for teaching and with her great friends and fellow lovers of traditional music, Rory Kennedy and Kevin O’Callaghan, she began fiddle classes.

Soon their pupils, including two of her own sons, Brendan and Gerry were collecting major awards, like their first All-Ireland title at Fleadh Ceoil in 1967, an honour they repeated for the following two years. Indeed all of Rose’s children inherited her love of Irish music and dance, and all have played professionally, with Gerry now a lecturer in DKIT, having recently acquired his Masters to the delight of his mother. That love of music within the family has passed to the next generation and some years back, this was recognised by UTV when they featured Gerry’s family and Rose on a programme titled “Three Generations”.

Rose believed in preserving the tradition of Irish music and was therefore a keen collector of thousands of tunes, some of which she learned from her parents and which she passed on to her own children and the hundreds of pupils who benefited from her teaching talent. Rose even managed to pen a few tunes herself, one of which was played at her graveside by her family.

Her contribution to Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann was recognised when she was presented with a special certificate and medal some years ago while she was the recipient of the inaugural award at Ceoil Carlinn earlier this year. In 2005, the Dundalk Arts Committee honoured her with its chairman’s award and she was grand marshal at the town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

It was fitting that Rose should be honoured and remembered in this way, for she inherited a love of all things Irish, especially music, and was blessed not just with the skill to play that music but to give others a love of that music and the ability to perform it.

She will of course be fondly remembered by her family not just as a very talented musician and teacher but as a loving mother who was devoted to their well being and who gave them not just a talent that afforded them the opportunity to make a career out of music but also a loving family environment in which they thrived.

Rose had been in relatively good health until recent times and died peacefully in the Louth Hospital surrounded by her family.

Rose is survived by her sons Brendan, Peter and Gerry, daughter Eilish, sisters Alice, Agnes, Mary and Patricia, brothers-in-law Willie and Joe, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, daughters in law Briege, Síle, Els and Angie, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends, She was pre-deceased by her husband Peter who died in 1976 and by her brother Jack and her sister Elizabeth.

Rose’s remains reposed at her home in Patrick Street where many musicians and friends called, and where on occasions, some of Rose’s favourite tunes got an airing. They were then taken to St. Nicholas’s Church where Requiem Mass was offered by Reverend Seamus Dobbin C.C. who gave a very fitting eulogy on the contribution that Rose had made not just to music but to many aspects of life.

The readings were given by daughter Eilish and son Peter while the prayers of Intercession were led by sons Gerry and Brendan, grand-daughters Tara and Siubhán O’Connor and grandson Feilimí O’Connor. The gifts, including a fiddle, were presented during the Mass by daughters-in-law Angie, Briege, Els and Síle, by grandson Finnian and by great-grand-daughter, Chloé O’Connor.

Understandably, music was a major part of the service and as Rose’s remains were borne into the church, the traditional musical tunes were played by her most recent pupils led by olive Murphy. A very old friend from Rose’s Ceilí Band days, Kathleen Duffy, played during the offertory procession while Áine McGeeney sang a local air “Úr Chnoic Céin Mhic Cáinte”.
Rose’s grandson, Dónal O’Connor composed a special piece named after his beloved grandmother “Róise na bhFonn” which he played during the service and as Rose’s remains were taken from the church some of Rose’s former students played, among these, Mary Grannell, Austin Dawe, Claire Murphy, Nuala Kennedy and Brendan Larrissey.
As Rose’s remains were finally laid to rest in St. Patrick’s cemetery, her sons and daughter together with daughter-in-law Síle played a number of her favourite pieces including one that she penned herself.

The Month’s mind Mass is on July 19th in St. Nicholas at 10am

(“The Argus”, June 25th 2008)