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Going to the Well for Water: The Séamus Ennis Field Diary 1942-1946

Going to the Well for Water: The Séamus Ennis Field Diary 1942-1946


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This is the first publication of a diary of the collector of music and songs with the Irish Folklore Commission. It paints a vivid picture of Ireland in the 1940s and comments in particular on popular pastimes and other aspects of daily life. A number of entries cast light on Ennis' fieldwork methodology, which was meticulous, and his attitude towards his mission, which led him to eschew anything that had been collected frequently or learned from a book. Ennis visited a number of Gaeltachtai and the book sketches a picture of life in Donegal, Mayo, Connemara and West Clare.

This collection will have particular relevance not only to those interested in Ennis as an individual, but also to all historians and scholars of Irish traditional music and folklore in the twentieth century. Ui Ogain captures Ennis’ writing style admirably. Accounts of certain events reveal an engaged emotional intensity underscoring Ennis’ firm belief that his endeavor was more than a mere job. Such vignettes render the diary eminently accessible and attractive to a general reading public, a distinction rarely achieved in this kind of publication.

Maps and illustrations demonstrate the journeys undertaken by Ennis. A biographical index of the people interviewed lists the material collected from each individual. The book also provides indices of places, of music and song, and of subjects.

Additional Information

Publisher Cork University Press
Publication date 30 Oct 2009
Format Hardback
ISBN/EAN 9781859184370

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