“Simplicity Itself”

In 1911 Emily Weddall commissioned a hall to be built in Dooagh for the use of the local people, particularly for Gaelic League events. At the time she did not know that it would be the centre of what would become one of the shortest but most renowned summer school of its age.

“Latest on the list of these colleges is Scoil Acla founded this year on Achill Island. It owes its origin to Mrs. Weddall, who in the spring built a village hall in Dooagh. The hall was to be used for Gaelic League classes, for ceidhlidhe, for plays, for concerts. But it was the beginning of May, and the summer months with their enforced emigration were to follow. Was the new building to remain closed until October or November brought back to life when the young men and women returned from the harvest fields of Scotland? It seamed a pity. Suddenly an idea come. Wy not have a course of language classes for students who might like to spend a few weeks in Achill? The idea developed and the scheme was formed of organising a summer school for the month of August. It was to have no pretensions, but simplicity itself. It was to give no certificates and the lessons were to suit students who came to learn chiefly for their own pleasure. On Sunday, August 7th, Scoil Acla was formally opened. Some Some seventeen students had found their hither from different places. There was three fro England, two from Dublin, fiver from Leinster, one fro the Aran Island, and there rest from Co. Mayo. Though different in their stages of knowledge, the students united in equal enthusiasm. soon the classes were vigorously at work.”

That was how the first Scoil Acla came to pass.


Evening Telegraph. Saturday, June 8 1912