Claud Chavasse arrived on Achill sometime in the early 1910’s, possibly to visit his sister Marguerite, who had settled on the Island shortly before, where she had set up a lace making industry. English by birth, with French ancestry, Claud Chavasse did not have any family links as such with Ireland, however when he arrived on her shores he must have felt it was it his true home, as he ended up staying for the rest of his life.
Born on April 2 1885 to Albert Sydney Chavasse, and Isabella Florence nee Mann. The Chavasse family lived at Oxford, where their father was a professor of classical languages at the University. Claud would follow the family’s academic tradition, first by attending Wellington College in Berkshire, where he won a scholarship to continue his studies at Christ Church College, Oxford in 1903. It was at Christ Church College that he first began his love affair with Irish culture.
After befriending Sir John Rhys, a Celtic scholar Chavasse took up Celtic Studies. He also became friends with a group of Irish students, Diarmuid Trench, Éamon Cuirtéis, and Robert Barton. This group of young men established an Irish Society, hosting discussions on Irish language and culture. It was with the same group that he first visited Ireland in 1905, a trip that inspired him to set up the Oxford Gaelic League, where in 1909 he became head of the branch.
Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Baile Atha Cliath: Coisceim, 1995.
Liverpool Echo February 10, 1916, page 6
Reading Mercury 27 June 1903. P6