Dublin, November 1919

November 11th 1919 marked a full year since the Great War ended. It was almost a year since the beginning of another, the War of Independence. To an onlooker, it might have been hard to believe there was any conflict at all in most part of the country, apart from Munster and Dublin. There were plenty reports in the newspapers, telling of guerilla warfare such as ambushes and arson attacks on the authorities.

In the wake of the Uprising of 1916, when martial law war was declared, then relaxed when thing quietened down. But on July 5th 1918  – Sinn Féin, the Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic League have all been proclaimed as illegal organisations by the Lord Lieutenant and banned. From time to time the papers contained notices such as the below reiterating the ban.

At the time Emily was living in Dublin at the time at an address in Ranelagh, away from her home in Achill. She had found employment in her old profession as a nurse, the previous year on the outbreak of Spanish Flu. She was in serious debt, having to work all the hours she could to save her home. She had little time to take part in political activities, but it did not stop her selling flags for the listed organisations, as an act of defiance as much as a support to them.

Sinn Fein Headquarters at 6 Harcourt Street
Irish Times 27 November 1919

Freeman’s Journal 30 November 1920


Commemorations in Newport

This year marks the 180th anniversary of the execution of patriot priest, Fr. Manus Sweeney. He was hanged in the Market Square in Newport in June 1799, for his supposed part in the 1798 Rebellion. In 1944, Emily, Eva O’Flaherty, Anita McMahon along with a dedicated group of Achill people, raised funds and commissioned a sculpture, dedicated to him. It seemed fitting to them, that he should have a dedication near his place of birth in Dukinella. His final resting place is marked by a Celtic cross, inscribed:

This Monument has been erected
by the Parishioners of Burrishoole
To The Memory Of
Fr Manus Sweeney
A Holy Patriotic Priest who wss hanged
in Newport June the 8th 1799
because he had joined with his countrymen
in the Rebellion of 1798


In the same graveyard lies the graves of little known martyrs, two Catholic Nuns who suffered a harrowing death during Oliver Cromwell’s campaign of terror in Ireland in the 1640’s and 50’s.

Martyred Nuns; Co. Mayo Ceremony

The President of Ireland Mr. Sean T. O’Ceallaigh, attended the ceremony at the ruins of Burrishoole Abbey, Newport, Co. Mayo last Sunday, in honour of two nuns who died of exposure when stripped and driven from their convent at Bunishoole by Cromwellian soldiers in the year 1653. There was a large congregation at High Mass in the Abbey, at which the archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr, Walsh presided and a sermon was preached by Most Rev. Dr. Fergus, Bishop of Achonry.

After Mass the President laid a wreath on the grave of Fr. Manus Sweeney, a priest who was hanged in Newport Market Square by British soldiers after the landing of the French in West Mayo in 1798. In the evening the President unveiled a stature of Our Lady, erected on a bridge near the Abbey in honour of the martyred nuns.



19 June 1953 – New Ross Standard – New Ross, Wexford, Republic of Ireland

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Burrishoole_Friary_SE_2007_08_13.jpg Andreas F. Borchert [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)]

Emily’s Little Brother

One hundred and fifty years ago today Emily’s youngest brother John Jasper Joly Burke was born. Like his older sister and brother, Richard he his birth took place at Windsor Terrace, Edenderry, Co Offaly. He was the last of the four M’arthur-Burke children.

His early life was the same as his sister Emily, but there may have more emphasis on his education, simply because he was a boy. He probably attended a school for the sons of Clergymen, like his sisters attended the equivalent for girls. His brother, Richard became a banker, therefore it is possible that John Jasper studied for a profession too.

Some time in the early 1890’s he followed his sister Miriam, to Australia. Miriam remained in New South Wales, where she eventually married and had children. John Jasper went to Victoria, perhaps in search of work. There are no records to confirm, why he went there and exactly when until his funeral notice appeared in the local newspapers in May 1893:

The Friends of the late Mr. JOHN JASPER JOLY BURKE are respectfully invited to Follow his remains to the Bendigo Cemetery. The funeral is appointed to move from tho Fifeshire Hotel, Mount Korong Road, Ironbark, This Day, at ten o’clock. WILLIAM FARMER, Undertaker

Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 26 May 1893, page 4

It appeared he died in the Fifeshire Hotel, in Bendigo. Today it seems a bit mysterious that he died in a hotel, but back then people lived in hotels for an extended amount of time. Perhaps he had some temporary work there, as it was a mining area. As his death was not reported on it can be assumed that he died of natural causes. Perhaps a disease, brought on by the hostile climate, that he was not used of or something minor such as a fever, which can be easily treated and cured today. He is buried at Bendigo Cemetery in an unmarked grave Internment number 12656.




27 October 1869 – Kings County Chronicle – Offaly, Offaly, Republic of Ireland


Mattinbgn [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

With thanks to Bendigo Cemeteries Trust

Happy Birthday Emily

18th September 1867

Emily Arabella Maynard Burke was born on September 1867 at Windsor Terrace, in the quiet little town of Edenderry, Co. Offaly, then King’s County. In the year of her birth one of the major uprisings against British Rule in Ireland took place, the Fenian Rising of 1867. It failed. Many of the leaders were arrested and imprisoned in the UK.

Later on that year, in the aftermath of the uprising, which took place on the very day of Emily’s birth an event took place in Manchester, England:

Manchester Martyrs
“On 18 September 1867 about 50 Irish Fenians, led by William Allen, attacked a prison van guarded by a large number of unarmed police at Hyde Road in Manchester, England. Their aim was to release two important Fenian prisoners, Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy.” Read more



18th September 1867 is documented in Fenian Folklore as the day of the “Smashing of the Van.” Interestingly enough, nearly fifty years later Emily was imprisoned for her attempt to take part in the Uprising of Easter 1916, which had roots in that of 1867. In 1922 Ireland won her freedom, a tiny part of that could be attributed to Emily. A lifelong Nationalist her favorite song was Bold Fenian Men also called, Down by the Glenside. Penned in the wake of the 1916 Rising by Peadar Kearney who also wrote the Irish National Anthem, The Soldier Song. No doubt his and Emily’s paths crossed occasionally. Perhaps she got to complement him personally for penning her favorite song.

Happy Birthday Emily


Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 18 September 1867 https://www.rte.ie/archives/2017/1011/911615-fenian-rising-centenary/ https://www.historyireland.com/18th-19th-century-history/who-were-the-manchester-martyrs/


Kathleen Florence Lynn

On this day in 1955 Dr. Kathleen Lynn was laid to rest in her family plot in Deansgrange Cemetery, Dublin. Dr. Lynn and Emily’s friendship spanned at least four decades, up till Emily’s death in 1952. Kathleen outlived her by three years. The two women had much in common, their lives taking similar courses. Both had careers in the medical field, Kathleen a doctor, Emily a nurse.

The coast of Killala, birthplace of Dr. Kathleen Lynn

Dr. Lynn graduated from the college. She was one of a small number of girls that won scholarships to the University of Dublin, where she began her medical career.

Dr Kathleen Lynn Lane, Ballina, Co. Mayo
Dublin Daily Express 29 June 1893