Monthly Archives: March 2015

Introducing Emily: Part (3)

Cng emblem

The formation of the Grainne Mhaol (called afterGrace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Mayo) branch of the Gaelic League of Lower Achill and the founding of Scoil Acla, Emily Weddall had found her calling in life, but there was more to come. Little did she or comrades know that in the years that followed that the Gaelic League and other organisations would become highly politicised and that she and her friends would get swept up in that whirlwind.

This blog tells of that and the other events of of Emily Weddall’s extraordinary life.

Sources 26/03/2015


Introducing Emily; Part (2)

The Irish language publication, of which Emily was a regular correspondent

The Irish language publication, of which Emily was a regular correspondent

When Captain Weddall died in June 1908, Emily found herself alone in the world again. As a widow with no children, she now had the time and plenty of resources to pursue her interests.

One of Emily’s great passions was her love of the Irish language. At the time it was the height of the Irish language and cultural revival. The timing was perfect for Emily and other enthusiasts to form their own Branch of the Gaelic League in Lower Achill. The Mayo News article below was just one of many notices, letters and articles sent by Emily to the local and national newspapers letting the country know about cultural and social activities on Achill.

The Mayo News of July 4 1908. Page 8.

Gaelic League

Lower Achill Branch!

At a meeting of the outgoing committee of the Lower Achill Branch of the Gaelic League, held in Dukinella School on 28 June. Mr. John McNamara in the chair, the Rev. Father Colleran, administration was unanimously voted in as President for the coming year 1908 – 1909. Mr. John McNamara vice president; Mr. Pat Mulloy Keel, Hon sec. and Mrs Weddall Pollagh, hon. treasurer. 

This  formation of a local branch of the Gaelic League led to founding of Scoil Acla, an Irish language and cultural summer school in 1910, that still thrives today, and to the credit of Emily and the original founders and the present day members, is possibly the oldest of it’s kind in Ireland.

Mayo News July 4 1908. Page 8. 26/03/2015


Introducing Emily


Birthplace of Emily

Birthplace of Emily

Emily Maynard Arabella Burke was born on September 18th 1867, at Windsor Terrace, Edenderry, Co Offaly, the third of four children. Her Father Rev William John Burke was a Church of Ireland minister, in nearby Castlejordan, at the time of Emily’s birth. Her elder sister, Miriam was born in 1863, followed two years later by Richard, and John in 1869, completing the Burke Family.

Emily and her family lived in Edenderry until 1872, when her father, Rev Burke was transferred, to Ballinasloe, in Co Galway, back to his native West of Ireland. Meanwhile, the young Burke’s were sent away to school, the boys to a school for clergymans sons, and Emily and Miriam, attended the school for Daughters of the Irish Clergy on Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin. There Emily received a very good education, equipping her for life.

Emily went on to train as a nurse, at Sir Patrick Dunn’s Hospital, a career that allowed her to live independently and travel to Europe and as far as Russia. In 1905, she married Edward Weddall, a retired sea captain, and a year later the newlyweds made Achill Island their home. However married life was short lived for her, when the captain, died suddenly shortly after the couple celebrated thir third anniversary. Emily found herself a widow at the age of forty.

In a twist of fate, life was only about to begin for the young widow, because times were changing in Ireland and in the world too. Emily was about to get swept up in the whirlwind of a pivotal time in history…




Church Of Ireland minute books for Diocese of Meath 17