This year marks the centenary of the birth of Séamus Ennis, the renowned musician, singer, folklorist and broadcaster who left behind, to quote from one obituary, “a priceless heritage of Irish tradition to the nation”. Inspired by on-going centenary events taking place across Dublin and at the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, this blog briefly examines Ennis’s final years and death. (The bronze statue of Séamus Ennis which was unveiled in Naul on 24th October 2001. Courtesy of the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre)In 1975 Ennis settled in The Naul to live out his remaining years on land which had once belonged to his grandparents. A countryman at heart, he felt a strong attachment for the area and christened the plot where he lived in a caravan ‘Easter Snow’ (after the slow air of that name which he was fond of playing). He played an important role in helping to revive interest in uilleann piping during the twentieth century. While he continued to perform across Ireland and sometimes further afield, Ennis’s health gradually deteriorated during the period and he underwent an operation for cancer of the throat. An able cook who could deal expertly with game, as his health continued failing it was noticed that he began to lose interest in food.On the afternoon of Tuesday, 5th October 1982, Ennis passed away at home during his sleep. He was 63 years old. No inquest was held into the death, with the post-mortem examination taking place the following day. On Thursday evening Ennis’s remains were then brought from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park, to the Church of the Nativity in Naul, with friends and neighbours standing in the rain for almost an hour to greet the cortege, which had been delayed in heavy traffic.The following morning Ennis was buried in the adjoining Naul Cemetery. Leading traditional musicians had crowded inside the tiny Naul church alongside neighbours for the funeral Mass performed by local curate Father Malachy J. Mahon, who also officiated at the graveside ceremony. After the recital of a decade of the Rosary in Irish, broadcaster Séan Mac Réamoinn delivered a bilingual funeral oration in which he spoke of Ennis’s sincerity, prowess as a piper, and fidelity to north County Dublin and Ireland. This was followed by a lament – “Cois Abhainn na Séad” – played by Liam O’Flynn (Liam Óg Ó Floinn) on a set of uilleann pipes given to him by his deceased friend and mentor. (An uilleann piper at a Dublin Street Carnival in College Green, 1984. Available at;http://digital.libraries.dublincity.ie/vital/access/manager/Repository/vital:42327)Since his death efforts have been made to keep Ennis’s memory alive. These include the renaming of a section of Jamestown Road (Finglas) in his honour in 1994, and unveiling of a bronze statue of Ennis with uilleann pipes in hand beside the newly opened Séamus Ennis Cultural Centre (now the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre) in Naul seven years later. On Friday 3rd May, a new Dublin City Council ‘Séamus Ennis Commemorative Plaque’ will be unveiled in Finglas at the site of Burgess Galvin & Co. Ltd., Jamestown Road.Dr. James Curry, Historian in Residence, North West Area.Dublin City Council Historians in Residence are available to meet groups and schools, give talks, walks etc, run history book clubs and advise on historical research.
Dublin supported James II at the Battle of the Boyne, but following his defeat by William III, a protestant ascendancy resumed control of the city and began to forge links with the new and successful monarchy. This process intensified after the death of Mary II in 1695 left William III as sole monarch. Dublin Corporation added William’s arms to the City Sword; in 1697 and in the following year, the king presented a chain of office to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, carrying the monarch’s bust on a medallion, which is in use to this day.
For the month of February, Rathmines Library will be going to the dogs, or rather, the dogs will be coming to us! Tarsila Kruse’s exhibition, 100 days of Dogs, will be visited by 200 local schoolchildren, we will be running a Paws and Claws Animals in Literature Quiz and Canine Capers, two doggy-themed films, will be shown in the library on the afternoons of 16th and 17th February.For schools, we will have some very special visitors to library. Their minders will also be along tell us about the valuable work they do in the community.As a response to the exhibition, children are being invited to draw their own companion animal – whether it is one from a story, an imaginary beast or their own pet – and the best entries will receive a special prize. The pictures will be on display in Rathmines Library during March and some selected entries will appear on the Dublin City Libraries blog. The closing date is 8pm on Wednesday 21 February.Download entry form and terms and conditions (PDF, 196KB) or pick one up at the desk in Rathmines Library.The Chinese New Year on 16th February will herald the Year of the Dog, so there could be no better time to celebrate all things canine with us in Rathmines Library!...and as if that's not enough to tempt dog lovers, we have a special display of books about dogs! Tarsila Kruse illustrates children's picture books, works as a Doodle Doctor for Children’s Books Ireland and runs Illustration Workshops. www.tarsilakruse.comHer new book, 100 Days of Dogs is about the meaningful relationships between dogs and their humans. The first picturebook she illustrated, Ná Gabh ar Scoil! was shortlisted for both the CBI Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2016 and the Gradam Réics Carló 2016 (Book of The Year for Young People in Irish).Search for books illustrated by Tarsila Kruse in our library catalogue.