Category Archives: Places

Emily’s Brother; the Odd Fellow

Emily’s half brother, Dr. William Burke, was a member of the fraternity, the Odd Fellows. When he attended the Loyal Midland Lodge’s anniversary in 1883 he was admitted as an honorary member. He cited the same in the medical directories, perhaps to add prestige to his profile.

The Odd Fellows are, like the Freemasons and Foresters a friendly society that permits only male membership. When Emily’s brother was accepted into the fraternity in 1883, many of the medical profession were members. Reflected in the medical journals at the time, articles with titles such as “Friendly Societies And The Medical Profession. Statements Of The Friendly Societies, And The Facts As Ascertained”. There was also a air of distrust around such societies due to their secretive nature.

Provoked by the French Revolution, societies such as the Odd Fellows were classed as illegal. Informers sent in by the government were paid to infiltrate Lodges (branches). Secret signs and passwords were introduced to sort the real brothers from the imposters, as a matter of security. This tradition, which origin is not widely known is still used today, more as a tradition than necessity.

Late 18th century
Government suspicions of societies that ‘administer oaths and correspond by signs and passwords’ reached fever pitch, triggered by the French Revolution. So much so, organisations such as ours were deemed illegal and driven underground – exacerbating connotations of ‘secret societies’.

https://www.oddfellows.co.uk/about/history/
Image courtesy of Library and Museum Charitable Trust of the United Grand Lodge of England

How the Odd Fellows Became the Odd Fellows

There are several different reasons given for our strange name. One old and apparently authoritative history of Odd Fellowship gives the explanation, “That common laboring men should associate themselves together and form a fraternity for social unity and fellowship and for mutual help was such a marked violation of the trends of the times (England in the 1700’s) that they became known as ‘peculiar’ or ‘odd,’ and hence they were derided as ‘Odd Fellows.’ Because of the appropriateness of the name, those engaged in forming these unions accepted it. When legally incorporated the title ‘Odd Fellows’ was adopted.”

https://www.ballardoddfellows.org/history/

Sources:

https://iogt.org/about-iogt/the-iogt-way/who-we-are/the-history/

31 March 1883 – Barnsley Chronicle, etc. – Barnsley, Yorkshire, England

https://www.oddfellows.co.uk/about/history/

“Friendly Societies And The Medical Profession. Statements Of The Friendly Societies, And The Facts As Ascertained.” The British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 1956, 1898, pp. 1661–1662. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20255058.

The opening of the Eiffel Tower and Emily’s travels in France

Today the Eiffel Tower turns 130. When unveiled first it was quite a marvel. “A Nineteenth Century wonder” it was called, but before Parisians saw it as a wonder to behold they were quite skeptical during construction. As one paper reported it was cited as a “Metallurgical Monstrosity.”

Emily visited France in the 1890’s she may have been to Paris taking in the spectacle of the newly constructed Eiffel Tower herself, or even may have a lift to highest point accessible to the public at at the time. It was in her character to do so as she was once described by a friend as “intrepid”. It is possible that she may have been to France at an earlier date as she spoke fluent French.

Sources

13 April 1889 – Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian – Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland Cambridge Daily News 03 April 1889

Friends of Emily: John Millington Synge

One hundred and ten year ago John Millington Synge died. He was only a week or so shy of his thirty eight birthday. Having only enjoyed a short period of fame, little more than half a decade, illness and eventual death cutting it short.

BIOGRAPHICALLY the most remarkable feature of Synge’s career was its brevity. In the six years which elapsed between 1903, when In the Shadow of the Glen was produced, to 1909, when he died, he rose from absolute obscurity to world fame, and provided us with six plays on which his reputation must rest” Read more:


Originally published in Minute History of the Drama. Alice B. Fort & Herbert S. Kates. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1935. p. 118

Emily and Synge were friends from Gaelic League and literary circles but may have known one another from their earlier years. Both came from clerical families and were similar ages, she slightly older. There is a possibility that they met in their youth. Emily’s father and Synge’s uncle were both evangelical missionaries in the 1850’s. Synge’s uncle went to the Aran Islands, with the view to converting, the islanders, Emily’s father, Mayo and Connemara. Both men were run out of town. There was a good chance they were close enough friends as Emily was one of a relatively small group that attended his funeral, traveling cross country all the way from Achill to Dublin.

Sources

http://www.theatrehistory.com/irish/synge001.html

http://www.achill247.com/writers/jmsynge.html

Dublin Daily Express 27 March 1909

St. Patrick’s Day on Achill in the time of Emily

“One Home Two Away”

It was possible that Emily spent St. Partick’s Day on Achill in 1919. The worst of the flu epidemic was over ending her long hours of nursing its victims. She was now free to travel back home to Achill after a long absence. Dublin was now her temporary home, as her employment as a nurse was there. However, correspondence with Fainne an Lae, the new name for the Gaelic League weekly, located her in Achill in March 1919.

St. Partick’s Day was then as it is now a big festival on Achill, celebrating it in the same way it was celebrated in 1882, to mark the fourteen hundred and fifty years that the saint arrived in Ireland.That year the Church called for a special effort to be made by the people of Ireland to celebrate the anniversary. Achill was well prepared. The year before the First Band or Tom Vesey’s Band was formed. Initiated by him and some local musicians.

“The First Band had always been known as Tom Vesey’s Band. Tom Vesey lived in the middle of the Village [Dooagh] and as a youngster he served his time in Scotland as a cooper… Tom Vesey was by all accounts a gifted cooper, and like all artists he tried something new, he made a wooden frame for a bass drum, a tanned goat skin was used to complete the drum. That drum was carried in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade for 26 Years.

As Time Marches on; A Brief History of Dooagh Pipe Band 1882-1982,

Some years later when St. Partrick’s Day became an official holiday (1903), and the Gaelic League took over, the local branch put on a concert, where the islanders were entertained with music, drama and song. When Emily arrived on Achill the agenda for St. Patrick’s Day was well established. She was happy to get involved and when the night was over her husband, Captain Weddall treated the performers to tea and cake.

The Accrington Drum

Years later, still when the Gaelic League and Scoil Acla was well established on Achill and when the Dooagh Band had acquired a new drum. The large drum was a gift from grateful music fans from Accrington, Lancashire. It went down in folklore as the Accrington Drum.

In 1914 a Mr. Rainsford was brought in by Mrs. Weddall, director of Scoil Acla to teach new members of the Band new tunes on the flute, he also trained the drummers. He trained them to cross the sticks on the big drum. He called the style – “One home two away”.

As Time Marches on; A Brief History of Dooagh Pipe Band 1882-1982


Sources

As Time Marches on; A Brief History of Dooagh Pipe Band 1882-1982; J.J. McNamara, J. McNamara, N.T.

Mayo News April 04 1908. Page 3

Special thanks to John ‘Twin’ McNamara


St. Patrick’s Day 1919

St. Patrick’s Day 1919 was the first one since the end of WWI. Rationing had all but ended, a fact that had not escaped retailers, as seen in the advert below. The usual novelties, such as badges, rosettes, cards and pictures of the saint, were also advertised and offered at competitive prices.

In honour of the national saint of Ireland Seachtaine na Gaelilge was and still is marked by Connrad na gaelige. Nowadays it runs for a fortnight then it was a week long.

Sources

Weekly Freeman’s Journal 15 March 1919

Dublin Evening Telegraph 15 March 1919