The Last Days of Darrell Figgis (1)

Darrell and Millie Figgis spent almost a decade on Achill. They were friends of Emily and possibly knew her from before their arrival on the island in 1913. Emily was possibly related to Millie and may have shared a grandfather Richard McArthur, who was originally Northern Ireland as was Millie. Emily may have known Darrell Figgis too as her family were in the book trade as were some branches of his.

The Figgis’ and Emily lives were closely linked during the Revolutionary years and for a brief period after. The trio attended the historical funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa at Glasnevin Cemetery in 1915, a well documented event. They even appear in photographs of the event, but not together.


When Figgis spent time in jail in 1918 Emily, who was a nurse by trade, took time out from her busy schedule to nurse Millie, when she was struck by the deadly virus, that claimed more that the previous war had. Millie who had a weak heart was not expected to live. Emily forthright as ever took it upon herself to write to the Chief Secretary of Ireland’s office to grant Millie’s husband compassionate leave from his internment. Unfortunately Emily’s word alone did not carry much weight as was noted by the authorities:

“Mrs Weddalll is a Nurse in the Meath Hospital; she belongs to Achill, and is a personal friend of Mrs Figgis. It is said that this Nurse holds Extreme Views.”

Darrell Figgis was granted leave and Millie survived. But the worst was yet to come.


Easter Rising Stories by Marcus Howard
Public Record Office of Britain CO 94/201/141