Sometime between April 1901 and March 1905 Emily traveled to Russia. She may have had some nursing work there or went as a lady’s companion, who may have required some nursing services. Due to the absence of records it is impossible to say exactly when and under what circumstances she went there, only local legend and a few facts that Iosold ni Dheirg remembered from the time she spent with Emily in her later years. In her biography Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla, Iosold ni Dheirg mentions that Emily had been to one of the palace of the Tsars, and that she kept a photo of the three Russian princesses in her house many years later.

Emily’s time in Russia is shrouded in mystery, and possibly will never be solved. Her time spent there was eventful and may have been the beginning of her developing a strong social conscience, which she was noted for all her life. One particular incident would have an strong effect on her character. It happened one snowy night…

Emily was awoken from her sleep by a commotion outside. She looked out her bedroom window to see a big group of poor men, in shackles been led of the work in the harsh climate of Siberia as a punishment to whatever crime they may have committed. It was snowing heavily. It was the most alarming sight she had seen in her life so far.


She would see similar scenes but the next time it would be in her own country many years later.

Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Beann Éadair, Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim, 2010.
Photo by Ciaran Parkes