O’Neills of Gortin are a family run business founded by John P and Mary O’Neill in the small village of Gortin, Co Tyrone in 1965. Starting trading as a general store selling everything from a match to a television and undertaking television and radio repairs, they recognised the threat of competition from supermarkets and tv rental companies. Having read the market well they diversified into musical instrument sales to cater for the huge revival in Irish traditional music that commenced in the 1970s. His inability to supply the rapidly increasing demand led him to import directly from the manufacturers worldwide and launch his own brand “Boorinwood” named after the local ancient natural woodland Boorin Wood at the edge of the village.
Being an electronics genius, John P identified the potential of the internet and acquired one of the first computers in the area, an Amstrad 1512. Teaching himself to build a website, he soon had www.boorinwoodmusic.com up and running. His stock of instruments were now visible worldwide. They then formed their own company Gortin Musical Wholesale and the instruments were distributed to retailers across Ireland and UK. From a small fledgling music retailer they grew the business into Ireland’s largest musical importer and distributor; Gortin Musical Wholesale.
After many years trading and building a very successful business, illness unfortunately caught up with them and the wholesale business was wound down in 2013. With the death of Mary in July 2014 and John P in February 2016, the business passed to son Sean who continues to meet the needs of the music community as an accordion specialist and supplying traditional folk instruments through the family shop at Main St Gortin, and through an online presence as boorinwoodmusic.com and oneillsmusicshop.com.