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John McGettigan (1882-1958)

John McGettigan (1882-1958) from Glenree, Carrigart, County Donegal, emigrated to the USA in 1907. There he became one of the most celebrated musicians and singers of his day.  A classical scholar graduate, he taught Latin and Greek in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh. He formed a music group called ‘John McGettigan and his Irish Minstrels’ and such was their popularity that their recordings outsold those of the legendary Irish tenor John Mc Cormack. He built a successful business empire that included furniture stores, restaurants & hotels in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and New Jersey. He had a huge repertoire of Irish songs  and these included such perennial favourites such as ‘Cutting the Corn in Creeslough’, ‘Deep Sheephaven Bay’, ‘The Hills of Glenswilly’, ‘The Fanad Mare’, ‘Johnston’s Motor Car’ etc. He also established the McGettigan Travel Bureau which specialised in group and corporate business travel, charter flights and coach tours.   McGettigan is credited with having been a major influence on 20th century Irish song and his recordings introduced many ballads and rare highland dances to wider audiences. He was a household name at home in Ireland, especially among Irish-Americans and Irish  exiles around the world; any home lucky enough to possess a wind-up gramophone was sure to have a collection of his recordings. John used his splendid voice to aid many charitable causes in spite of his manifold business commitments.

Marcas Ó Murchu is a well known flute player, researcher in Irish traditional music, and  collector of traditional music material. In 2013, when the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil was held in Derry, he was honoured as Ard-Ollamh (Chief Professorial Bard of Ireland) in recognition of his contribution to traditional music and the Irish language through his teaching, broadcasting and research work.
Marcas will give an illustrated talk on the life and times of John McGettigan (1882-1958) on Sat 26 August in the Hay Hall, Carrigart at 3pm.
This short free talk and audiovisual presentation is open to all, using original recordings and rare photos, and will rekindle some interest in a remarkable personality. A selection of John’s old 78rpm records will be on display and a commemorative seat will be unveiled immediately afterwards by Ms. Mary Durning, Clooney, Ramelton, a great - niece of John McGettigan, in his memory. This will take place outside premises on the main street where his brother James McGettigan operated an off-license, grocery & hardware business in the early years of the last century. Musicians welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Permalink - Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:44 am