Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929) was an English barrister, who was a prolific song writer and radio entertainer in his spare time. He wrote around 1500 songs of which over a thousand were published.

He is best known for his song "Danny Boy", written with original words and music in 1910. The song was not a success by any measure. In 1912, his sister-in-law sent him a tune known as the Londonderry1 Air from the USA.

The tune was collected by Jane Ross in Limavady, County Londonderry under this name and publshed by George Petrie in his "Ancient Music of Ireland" in 1855. Weatherly loved the tune and noticed that his song fit it exactly. This is the tune by which the song is now well known.

Poor old Weatherly gets very little credit for his work, as it is generally credited to Anon. or "Irish Traditional", when it is neither! There is even a song called "The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy", in which he is used as a kind of symbol for anyone anonymous or unknown.


1(boring discussion of the word "Londonderry" here).

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