Tomás Ó Canainn

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Tomás Ó Canainn (1930 – 15 September 2013[1]) was an Irish Uilleann piper, accordion player, singer, composer, researcher, writer and lecturer in both electrical engineering (principally control engineering) and music. He was a founder of the group Na Fili with fiddler Matt Cranitch and whistle player Tom Barry in the late 1960s and 1970s. They gained considerable popularity and recorded several albums.


Ó Canainn was born in Pennyburn, Northern Ireland outside Derry but later moved to Cork where he became Dean of Engineering at the University College Cork (UCC). He took over the Irish music lectures from Seán Ó Riada at the college after his death in 1971 and taught music at the Cork School of music. Ó Canainn's daughters also play, violin, viola and cello and all 3 three appear with him on his last solo release. Tomás died in The Mercy Hospital in Cork City on 15 September 2013. He was 82 years old.


With "Na Filí"
  • 1969: An Ghaoth Aniar/The West Wind. Tomás Ó Canainn (spoken commentary and pipes), Matt Cranitch (fiddle), Réamonn Ó Sé (tin whistle). Mercier IRL 9.[2]
  • 1971: Farewell To Connacht. Traditional Music of Ireland. Tomás Ó Canainn (uillean pipes, accordion, and vocal), Matt Cranitch (fiddle), Tom Barry (whistle). Later reissued in CD format as Outlet PTICD 1010.[3][4]
  • 1972: 3. Tomas O'Canainn, Tom Barry, and Matt Cranitch: fiddle, uilleann pipes, voice, and whistle. Outlet Recording 1017, 1972, in both LP[5] and cassette[6] formats, then later reissued in CD format as Outlet PTICD 1017.[3]
  • 1974: A Kindly Welcome. Tomás Ó Canainn (uillean pipes, vocals), Tom Barry (whistle), Matt Cranitch (fiddle). Dolphin DOL 1008, 1974.[4]
  • 1977: Chanter's Tune. Tomás Ó Canainn (uilleann pipes, vocals), Tom Barry (whistles, flute), Matt Cranitch (fiddle). Transatlantic TRA 353, 1977.[7] Later reissued in cassette format as Pickwick Records HPC 650, 1981. Track listing of 1981 reissue at
Other or solo
  • 1980: With Pipe and Song
  • 1998: The Pennyburn Piper Presents: Uilleann Pipes


  • Traditional Music of Ireland, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978
  • Songs of Cork (Gilbert Dalton, Ltd. 1978)
  • New Tunes For Old, 50 original Irish dance tunes by Tomas O'Canainn (Ossian Publications. Book/Cassette. 1985)
  • Melos a book of Tomás' poetry in English. (Clog; First Edition 1 January 1987)
  • A Lifetime of Notes Tomás' own autobiography. (Collins Press. 1 January 1996)
  • Traditional Music in Ireland (Music Sales Corporation. January 1997)
  • Tomás' Tunebook (Ossian. 31 December 1997)
  • Home to Derry (Appletree Press (IE) January 2004)
  • Seán Ó Riada: His Life and Work (Collins Pr. 30 June 2004)
  • Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland(Ossian. 31 July 2005)


Tomás Ó Canainn won the All-Ireland solo piping title and is known as "The Pennyburn Piper". Hence the title of his album recorded in 1998 with Neil Martin The Pennyburn piper presents: Uilleann Pipes, on which he also sang.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Uilleann piper Tomás Ó Canainn dies aged 82". RTÉ.ie. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  2. ^ "UCC Library". University College Cork. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Disc Outlet". Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "University of Mississippi". 12 April 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  5. ^ "WorldCat". WorldCat. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  6. ^ "WorldCat". WorldCat. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  7. ^ "UCC Library". University College Cork. Retrieved 28 June 2014.

External links[edit]


  • Tomás Ó Canainn. A Lifetime of Notes. Collins Press. 1996