John Ennis and His Piper Son Tom
A Biography of Chicago Patrolman John Ennis and his Piper Son Tom 1847-1931 Music Makers from Kildare to America – Seamus Kelly & Aileen Saunders
Meet John Ennis, child of the Great Famine, farmer’s son, pupil in the ‘quaint old village school’ of Prosperous, emigrant to America, Chicago policeman, uilleann piper and flautist, a founding member of The Irish Music Club of Chicago, writer and poet. John’s love for Ireland – and Kildare in particular – was evident in his writings; he often courted controversy and seemed fearless of any possible consequences. He penned many quality poems with The Shady Road to Clane being his best known verse in Ireland. John also helped gather several traditional tunes for his Chief of Police boss, Francis O’Neill, the acclaimed Irish tune collector and publisher.
His child prodigy son, Tom, was an uilleann piper, fiddler and dancer. His musical performances attracted the Irish diaspora across America. He was the most recorded piper of his generation. He was also a determined entrepreneur, whose life ended abruptly at the age of forty-one. Both these talented men made invaluable contributions to Irish cultural life in Chicago and New York. This well-reserched publication casts a curious eye on a cummunity of Irish exiles, exploring how they spent their leisure and working hours.