John was educated at Stonyhurst and Oscott, and became a student in the school of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, where he took the diploma of L.R.C.S.I. in 1884 and of L.A.H. in 1891. He first practiced in Cheshire then removed to Walthamstow, where he had a large practice. He settled at Thurgoland, near Sheffield, and while there held the appointment of medical officer of health to the Penistone Rural District Council. When his mother died he inherited the family property at Drominagh, Borrisikane, co. Tipperary, so he gave up his practice and went to live at the house on the estate. In 1910 he became M.P. for North Tipperary. He was a Nationalist in politics, yet his appearances in Parliament were in connexion with the debates on the National Insurance Bill - using his influence to improve the terms offered to the medical profession. John married twice and was the father of seven children. His two elder sons joined the Munster Regiment when war broke out, and he accepted a commission at the rank of Captain in the R.A.M.C., being stationed with the Irish Brigade in county Tipperary. He became extremely enthusiastic in recruiting but his exertions in stimulating recruitment and his work as a military medical officer took itís toll on his health and he returned home feeling unwell. His illness was not considered serious at first but then pneumonia set in. His funeral took place on the 20th April 1915. John was the son of James Esmonde, Deputy Lieutenant for Tipperary, and a cousin of Sir Thomas Esmonde, M.P. for North Wexford.