The Grassy Green Pillow -- An Emigrant's Memorial to His Parents

Tombstone erected by Francis O'Neill in memory of his parents.

On a recent visit to West Cork, I had the fortune to properly explore Tralibane and the surrounding area. I was bowled over by the hospitality of the people there, especially Mrs. Wilcox of the Francis O'Neill Memorial Committee, who provided me with lots of insight into the O'Neill history and landmarks.

I was surprised to learn that O'Neill had erected a tombstone in his parents' memory in nearby Caheragh cemetery. This must have been in 1906 on his first proper visit home (with his wife Anna) after retiring as chief of police. The inscription reads:

Erected By

Captain Daniel Francis O'Neill

Chicago, USA

To the Memory of his Parents

John O'Neill of Tralibane

Died Nov 1867 Aged 66 Years


Catherine O'Mahoney [Obscured]

Died 1900 Aged 88 Years

Requiescant In Pace


Francis O'Neill parents' tombstone detail

Today, the graveyard is a quiet place with some headstones in poor condition. In places, as you can see in the picture above, there are only grass-covered mounds left to mark the graves. Here is a fine version of the somber tune 'The Grassy Green Pillow' from the O'Neill collection. It is played by Franz Sanger and Susan Frances.

Cross post from The Chief O'Neill Blog.

Views: 510

Tags: Irish-America, Law Enforcement, Traditional Music


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