Séamus Ennis

0
Have your say

Rugadh Séamus Ennis, píobaire, amhránaí, bailitheoir seanchais agus craoltóir ar an 5 Bealtaine 1919 i bhFionnghlas, Contae Áth Cliath.

Bhí a athair ina phíobaire cumasach agus sheinn an mháthair ar an fhidil. Deirtear gur sheinn an t-athair ceol píob do Shéamus nuair a bhí sé sa chliabhán.

Thosaigh Séamus ag seinm ar a stuam féin nuair a bhí sé dhá bhliain déag d’aois. Fuair sé a chuid oideachais trí mheán na Gaeilge. Nuair a d’fhág sé an scoil, fuair sé post le comhlacht leabhar ag léamh profaí. Ina dhiaidh sin, fuair se jab le Coimisiún Béaloideais na hÉireann. Bhailigh sé thart fá 500 amhrán ó amhránaithe traidisiúnta i nGaeltacht Chonamara – ceol a bheadh ar shiúl mura raibh sé ann.

Ní raibh ach peann, páipéar agus rothar mar ghléas iompar aige chun a chuid oibre a dhéanamh. Bhí an pá an-íseal agus de réir cosúlachta, bhí sé ar an ghannchuid. Ach bhí an obair níos tábhachtaí dó ná an t-airgead. Bhailigh sé amhráin agus foinn ó áiteanna eile in Éirinn, an Cabhán, Dún na nGall agus Maigh Eo ina measc, chomh maith le hamhráin ó Ghaeltacht na hAlban. D’oibrigh sé le Raidió Éireann (nó le Radio Éireann mar a thug siad orthu féin) ó 1947 go dtí 1951, agus leis an BBC ó 1951 go dtí 1960. ‘As I roamed out’ an teideal a bhí ar an tsraith a rinne sé don BBC. Bhí ceol ó Éirinn, ó Shasana, ó Albain agus ón Bhreatain Bheag ar na cláracha. Faoin am seo, bhí clú agus cáil air mar cheoltóir agus thug sé ceolchoirmeacha agus léachtaí anseo in Éirinn agus thar sáile. Rinne sé cairdeas lena lán ceoltóirí agus thaifead sé leithéidí Willie Clancy agus Micho Russell.

Ach ní raibh sé saibhear riamh. Chaith sé a bhlianta deireanacha i dteach gluaisteach ar an Aill, Contae Áth Cliath ar thalamh a bhí ag a mhuintir. Fuair sé bás ón ailse sa bhliain 1990. Foilsíodh an dialann a scríobh sé agus é ag taisteal faoin teideal ‘Mise an fear ceoil’ (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 2007). Bíonn Scoil Séamus Ennis ar siúl gach bliain ar an Aill i mí Dheireadh Fómhair.

Séamus Ennis

The piper, singer, folklore collector and broadcaster Séamus Ennis was born in Finglas, County Dublin on 5 May 1919. His father was an outstanding piper and his mother played the fiddle.

It is said that the father played pipe music for Séamus while he was in the cradle. Séamus began playing on his own initiative when he was twelve.

He received his education through Irish. When he left school he got a job with a book company as a proof reader.

He later found employment with the Irish Folklore Commission. He gathered over 500 songs from traditional singers in the Conamara Gaeltacht- music that would have been lost if it had not been for what he did. He had only a pen and paper for his work and he got around on a bicycle.

He received a very small wage and he apparently lived in poverty. But the work was more important than money. He gathered songs and tunes from other places in Ireland, including Cavan, Donegal and Mayo, as well as songs from the Scottish Gaeltacht.

He worked with Raidió Éireann (or with Radio Éireann as they called themselves) from 1047 till 1951 and then with the BBC from 1951 till 1960. ‘As I roamed out’ was the title of the series which he made for the BBC. The programmes included music from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. By this time he had become well known as a musician and he gave concerts and lectures here in Ireland and abroad. He made friends with many musicians and he recorded the likes of Willie Clancy and Micho Russell. But he was never well off. He spent his last years in a mobile home on land belonging to his family in Naul, County Dublin.

He died of cancer in 1990. The diary which he wrote while travelling around was published under the title of ‘Mise an fear ceoil/ I am the music man’ (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 2007).

The Séamus Ennis School is held in Naul every year in the month of October.