This book provides a fascinating insight into the life and work of piper and music collector Séamus Ennis during his period as full-time collector with the Irish Folklore Commission when he worked in counties Galway, Clare, Mayo, Donegal, Limerick and Cavan.
Séamus Ennis was born in north County Dublin, and at the age of twenty-three was appointed by the Irish Folklore Commission as a collector. His work involved travelling to different parts of Ireland to document traditional music and song in oral tradition. The diary he kept of his time in the field working for the Commission is part of the National Folklore Collection at UCD, and has now been published by Ríonach uí Ógáin. It provides an absorbing account of Ireland during World War II. Of its nature, the diary comments on many aspects of life at that time – the musical tradition, the people and communities Ennis visited, their way of life, the state of the Irish language, and the diary also paints a vivid picture of Ennis himself, a man who remains a highly respected and admired figure. The importance of his work cannot be underestimated, and the thriving traditional music culture we enjoy in Ireland today owes much to his extensive work, collecting and recording songs and music which would otherwise have been lost.