Some 35+ years ago, from a background in aeronautical engineering and a love of piano music, I became interested in the restoration and enjoyment of vintage automatic musical instruments, such as player pianos, reproducing grand pianos, nickelodeons, orchestrions, disk music boxes, cylinder music boxes, circus band organs, etc.
In the beginning, restoration of these instruments was terribly unscientific and haphazard. However, in 1971, I learned about the Automatic Musical Instruments Collectors Association, a world wide group of people sharing a common interest in various forms of automatic music from the turn of the century. From this Association and its Journal - the AMICA Bulletin, the secrets of restoration are continously being shared with all. Click on AMICA to learn more about this fine Association, its publications, activities, Chapters, and its Annual Convention.
The InterNet has opened up a whole new exciting world of virtually instant worldwide communications with like minded people. Thanks to Jody Kravitz and Robbie Rhodes in California, the world is now blessed with an automated mailing list serving the information needs of some 1,000+ people worldwide sharing a common interest in automatic musical instruments. To learn more about this wonderful new support service, and how to join the group send an email expressing your interest in joining the group. It's companion web site is mmd.foxtail.com
Dad often spoke about his boyhood in Dublin, going to school there, spending summers and occasional weekends with family in Curraha, about 10-15 miles west of Dublin. He often spoke about an ancestor of ours named Paud O'Donoghue, a local folk hero in County Meath, who famed himself fighting for freedom in the Battle of Tara Hill in 1798.
In 1957, I had the privilege and pleasure of visiting Ireland, found numerous relatives still living in the Dublin/Curraha/Greystones areas. As I spoke with various most friendly folks in the Curraha area, someone kindly gave me a copy of a brochure, "Ceremonies on Tara Hill", Sunday, 3rd October 1948. It is a commemorative of those who fell fighting for freedom on the Hill of Tara and other parts of Meath in 1798.
In that brochure was the Ballad of Paud O'Donoghue, by Patrick Archer, date unknown. I rather liked it and reproduced it as a web page of its own. Click here to read it.
Terrence O'Donoghue Smythe
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