Category Archives: 1916 Rising

Emily losses another friend

On October 30 Emily lost her good friend Frances Coffey to the Spanish Flu. She was only a young woman, less than thirty, but the virus did not discriminate, in fact Frances was in the age group with the highest casualties.

Both Emily and her niece Enid (Siobhan) wrote to her family regretting her death. Frances, or Sadhbh, in Gaelic had attended Scoil Acla first in 1911, and had been friends with Emily Weddall from then. Both ardent Gaelic League members attending events together such as the one below in 1912.

A visit was paid recently to teh Connaught Irish College, Tourmakeady, by a party including Rev. J. W. Meehan. C.C., Mrs Captain Weddall, Achill, Professor Paorach, Achill School of Irish; and Seaghan McEnri, organiser, Gaelic League. the visitors were welcomed into the lecture hall by over 300 students and their friends, those present including Senor Foley, Argentina, Mr. do. O’Byrne, President Brooklyn Gaelic League, the misses Chenevix Trench [Frances and Margot], Dublin; and P. O’Mallie. Ghairman Ougherard Gauardians. In the course of an address Father Meehan advocated that National teachers qualified to teach the school programme in both Irish and English sould be paid highter salaries than thos abel to teach only in English, and aht an advanced knowledge of a second language should be essential for admission to teacher’s training colleges.

The following year, the two friends met up at the Oireachtas, or AGM of the Gaelic League in Galway City, before traveling on the Achill to what would be the final Scoil Acla of that generation. Sadhbh, pictured with Emily, An Paorach, Claud Chevasse, along with others recorded the events of the summer school in her diary; Cesca’s Diary, 1913-1916: Where Art and Nationalism Meet.

Scoil Acla 1913 www.scoilacla.ie

When Cumann na mBan was formed in 1914, both Emily and Sadhbh  joined, and over the next few years became involved in the Easter Rising and the struggle for freedom that ensured. Emily lived to see it but Sadhbh did not. In October 1918 she came down with the dreaded flu, from which she did not recover.

At her burial the rosary was recited in Irish around her grave by members of her  branch of the Gaelic League and Emily’s branch known as the Five Provinces or Craobh na gCúig gCúigí.

Sources

Chenevix Trench, Frances Georgiana, and Hilary Pyle. Cesca’s Diary, 1913-1916: Where Art and Nationalism Meet. Dublin: Woodfield Press, 2005.

MS 46 328/2 Coffey and Chenevix Trench papers, 1868-2007. National Library of Ireland. Department of Manuscripts.

09 September 1912 – Irish Independent – Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

www.scoilacla.ie

Countess

On this day in 1927 Countess Markievicz died. She breathed her last in a public ward in Sir Patrick Dunn’s Hospital, Dublin, not the usual setting for a Countess. She had reneged upon a pampered life for a one of service to the poor of her country and then on to fight for that same country.

To read more about her remarkable life:

Countess Markievicz

Her funeral attended by thousands, was held over three days. Her body lay in repose at the Rotunda, on Parnell Square. From there crowded lined to route to Glasnevin Cemetery, to be interned alongside her friends and fellow Republicans, who had gone before her.  

It is impossible to say if Emily Weddall attended the funeral, chances were she was there in the crowd or marching with fellow members of Cumman Na mBan.

The funeral procession took place on Sunday but the burial was not until the following day, Monday as the gravediggers union forbade them to work on Sunday. The Countess’ coffin was held in a vault in the O’Connell Circle, where the founder of the cemetery, and Irish Liberator was originally buried (he was reinterred in a crypt beneath the Irish round tower) in 1869. If she were alive she may have been pleased as;

“DANIEL O’CONNELL (1775-1847) –Daniel O’Connell was a politician, Lord Mayor and human rights activist. He achieved Catholic emancipation and fought for the repeal of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland.” (Glasnevin Trust)

Last Post.

The Countess was buried with almost full military honors, the only exclusion was the firing of shots over her grave. At the time such was band by the state, but she did get the all other honors due to her. As a personal touch her uniform, worn during the Rising of 1916 was buried with her.

Over the years she was joined by her friends and fellow Republicans, one by one until that generation came to an end. Emily rests nearby next to Cathal Bruagh and across from Maude Gonne. The Republican Plot is part of the Glasnevin tours, and the graveyard is one of the top Dublin tourist attractions and well worth a visit: https://www.glasnevinmuseum.ie/daily_tours/

Filmed and edited by Marcus Howard. On the 90th anniversary of Countess Constance Markievicz’s death, The 1916 Relatives Association held a special commemorative event in Glasnevin Cemetery. To watch the video;

https://youtu.be/TnaY5mT-SGI

Sources
23 July 1927 – Ballymena Weekly Telegraph – Ballymena, Antrim, Northern Ireland
http://lissadellhouse.com/countess-markievicz/
02 October 1917 – Daily Mirror – London, London, England
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClH7iRo8l6OmCYSZBzwrVbw
https://www.glasnevintrust.ie/visit-glasnevin/interactive-map/daniel-oconnell/

101 Years Ago

Easter week 1916 began as any other for the people of Achill, Emily and Darrell Figgis alike. Nothing out of the ordinary apart from the unseasonably good weather as Figgis described in in his book A chronicle of jails, more or less his prison diary of his time incarcerated during 1916-17.

Tues, April 25th 1916 was filled with sunshine in token of the summer that was on the way while a keen wind from the north came in reminder of the winter that was passing.

No one would have been any the wiser that there was an uprising taking over the capital if on the island. Only a few would have noticed that there was something amiss, those waiting on the post, which Darrell Figgis was one.

It was not till some hours after noon that, looking along the road for the post that was so unaccountably late, I saw a friend making her way toward the house on her bicycle. As she came nearer and dismounted I could see the traces of tears on her cheeks, and wondered.

“The post is very late,” I said.

“There is no post,” she replied, “but there’s terrible news. There has been fighting in Dublin. they say Dawson Street is full of dead and wounded men. the Volunteers hold the General Post Office, the Bank of Ireland, and a number of buildings all over Dublin…”

It is impossible to say if the friend of Darrell Figgis was Emily, there is a high likelihood that it was, either way Emily got the news and headed to Dublin to play her role in the Rising, except she never got there. Two days later and half way there she was intercepted in Rochfordbridge, Co. Westmeath and brought to court there.

Tullamore Prison Gates

The record still exists and contains the following details:

Name of Justice: M. S. Moore R. M.
Defendant: Emily Weddall
Cause of Complaint: Defense of the Realm
That Defendant on the 28th of April 1916, at Mulling in the county of Westmeath was acting in such a manner as to vie reasonable ground for suspecting that she was about to act in a manner prejudicial to the Defense of the Realm and that she is thereby guilty of an offense against the Regulations made under the Defense of the Realm Act 1914 and was arrested by the Constable Thomas Forkin R. I. Constabulary in accordance of said regulations.

Particulars of order of dismissal: Defendant remanded in Custody for seven days from this as for further examination.

The Complainant was listed as ‘The King’.

Emily was sent to Tullamore Gaol for the duration of the Rising. She was released without further ado. On May 3rd her niece, Enid made her way across the country from Achill to Tullamore to meet her aunt at the prison gates. Enid was only 17 and at the time on Easter holidays from school.

By the time Emily returned to Achill, the Rising was over, Dublin was in ruins, some of her friends including Darrell Figgis were imprisoned and some were no more, executed for their part.

An Cliadeamh Soluis 24/04/1916

Sources
Figgis, Darrell, and William Murphy. A Chronicle of Jails. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2010.
findmypast.ie/record?id=ire%2fpettys%2f005174188%2f00427,parentid=ire%2fpettys%2f005174188%2f00427%2f2687504
http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/chronology-of-the-easter-rising

 

 

Generosity and History Repeats Itself

In April 1917 there was a gift sale held at the Mansion House in Dublin in aid of the Irish National Aid and Volunteer Dependents. Emily, out of generosity and always ready to make a contribution to a cause close to her heart, donated a motor coat, which fetched £20.

“Relics As Bargains

The desk on which Gerald Griffin wrote “The Collegtans” was bought for 22s 6d and two L’enian pikes got £1. A case of butterflies collected in India by the Late Michael Mallin, one of the executed leaders, together with two books of music containing his autograph, presented by his widow bought £1 10s. Twenty pounds were paid for a motor coat presented by Mrs. Weddall and a motor coated lined musquash, given by Mme O’Reilly, reached £10. forty pounds were given for a pan of 6in antique silver candle sticks, Dublin hallmark 1725. Robert Emmet’s Wallet fetched £10 and the block on which he was beheaded was sold for £5 10s. Ten pounds were paid for a silver dish 1774.”

History Repeats Itself

The mentioned block that Robert Emmet was beheaded on is still doing the rounds to this day. It was on display in the entrance hall in the Pearse Museum, St. Enda’s Park associated with Emmet and for a time at Kilmainham Gaol, where he was held before his execution in 1803, completing the full circle. Read more on Robert Emmet:

The donation of the motor coat by Emily was most generous, as at the time the cold reality of her dire financial state was beginning to dawn on her. She was on the eve of becoming penniless. Up until early 1917 Emily was reliant on her income from her stock and shares and any other investments she had in Russia. In March of 1917 the Revolution began to unfold and any finance from there was under threat. Emily was not the most financially astute person and overlooked the bills and notices from the bank stacking up.

 

 

Sources
Freeman’s Journal 21 April 1917
Staffordshire Advertiser 31 May 1919
http://pearsemuseum.ie/online-tour/tour-of-the-house/
http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie/
http://www.history.com/topics/russian-revolution
Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Baile Atha Cliath: Coisceim, 1995.