Monthly Archives: April 2016

Claud Chavasse on Achill

Claud Chavasse was somewhat of a ledgend in his own lifetime in Galway, where he lived most of his life. Before he settled there in 1917, he lived on Achill.  His sister Marguerite Chavasse, ran a lace making industry on the Island and he stayed with her, while there.  Emily Weddall, a friend of Marguerite, must have been enthralled with her brother Claud, not only for his interest and commitment to Gaelic Culture, but with his refusal to speak any language other than Irish. He and Emily became friends and soon joined forces with others to found the Irish language and cultural summer school, Scoil Acla.

Chavasse taught Irish classes as part of the summer school curriculum, and any other time this service was required, where he was ever willing teacher.

Claud Chavasse teaches Irish classes on Achill in 1915

Claud Chavasse teaches Irish classes on Achill in 1915

An Claidheamh Soluis

Claud Chavasse

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.

Portrait of Claud Chavasse, by Sadhbh Trinseach. Kindly reproduced with permission of NIUG Art Collection

Portrait of Claud Chavasse, by Sadhbh Trinseach. Courtesy of NIUG Art Collection


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


Easter ’16. Now and then; 1916 Rebellion Tour

On this day 100 years ago, April 24th, the  Easter Rising began. It is hard to imagine, now in 2016 what it was like to have lived through what happened a century ago. The Old photos, film footage and newspaper reports along with modern day takes can help to paint the picture of the pivotal week in Irish history.

The International Bar on Wicklow St., where the tour begins

The International Bar on Wicklow St., the starting point of the tour

One such way of ‘reliving’ history is by taking the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour. Established 20 years ago by Lorcan Collins the tour has been informing, educating and enthralling those join Lorcan and fellow tour guide, Conor Kostick. It is a walking history lesson following in the footsteps of those who dared to take on the biggest empire of the time.

Both men are well versed historians who have the ability to transport you back in time to the lead up, event and aftermath of the Rebellion. Stopping at the key buildings, streets, and alleyways, through their stories you can well picture the dramatic scenes of one hundred years ago.

Conor and Lorcan

Conor and Lorcan

The journey beginning at the International Bar on Wicklow St., will take you to locations such as Dublin Castle, Liberty Hall, O’Connell St. and to the principal site of the Rising, the GPO and beyond. To book a tour and hear Lorcan and Conor relay the story of the Rebellion go to

“That is why they were so magical and beautiful in my eyes because they just continued on the way they did in the aftermath, when all the odds were stacked up against them. We now continue to Moore St. where they took their last stand…” Lorcan Collins





Dr Kathleen Lynn

Dr Lynn

Dr Lynn

Dr. Kathleen Lynn was born in Mayo. Like Emily Weddall her father was a Church of Ireland Minister. She was educated in Alexandria College, Dublin before completing her medical training at Cecilia Street (a Catholic University medical school).
Dr Lynn worked at Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, where Emily did her nurses training, but at different times.  Emily the older by a few years, attended Sir Patrick Dun’s in the 1890’s, Kathleen began working there in 1899, after completing medical school. At the time it was hard for female doctors to secure work, Sir Patrick Dunn’s progressive for it’s time took her on, on her own merit.

It is not clear when and where both women first became acquainted, it was likely through the Gaelic League, Cumann na mBan or through medical circles.  Kathleen Lynn either attended or helped with Scoil Acla as she was named on a list of attendees and supporters in a Mayo News article in the summer of 1915. They were life long friends, and would be meet many times again over the following four decades.

Kathleen Lynn: A Revolutionary Doctor | An Dochtúir Reabhlóideach

Kathleen Lynn was one of our first female medical graduates.  During the course of a distinguished life, she was a medical leader, campaigning feminist and social activist, a rebel of the emerging Irish nation, a suffragette and a public representative.  She had a pioneering medical career whilst taking part in Ireland’s War of Independence…To read more about Kathleen Lynns remarkable life:

Sources 08/07/2011
Mayo News August 1915
Photo: 04 August 1917 – Daily Mirror – London, London, England


Aftermath; Emily is Released

An Cliadeamh Soluis 24/04/1916

An Cliadheamh Soluis 24/04/1916


DSCF2517 DSCF2489By May 5th the Rising was over and some of the leaders already executed. Emily was released from prison. Her niece Enid (Siobhan) may have had to make her way from Achill all the way to Tullamore to meet her at the prison gates. Enid was still on Easter holidays from Alexandra College. She was only seventeen, but all too familiar with the adult world of Nationalism through her aunt.

Tullamore Prison Gates

Tullamore Prison Gates

On returning to Achill Emily would become aware of the fate of her friends. Darrell Figgis would be arrested and taken to Prison in Castlebar, on to Dublin and then to Durham Prisons. Claude Chavasse was held in Richmond Barracks and the Pearse brothers, Patrick and William she would never see again.


Irish Prison Registers 1790-1924 Transcription
Figgis, Darrell. A Chronicle of Jails. Dublin: The Talbot Press, 1917.
Find my Past. The Weekly Irish Times, Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook, Easter 1916. 1917 Transcription