Monthly Archives: December 2016

19/2016: A Year in Photographs





Easter Sunday/Monday

Achill Easter 2016


Reenactment of 1913 Oireachtas Photograph, depicting Emily Weddall

Original 1913 photo. Emily is 6th from left

2016 Reenactment. Photo by

July 2016

Scoil Acla 2016

November 2016

Night at the Pearse Museum

Pearse Museum at night

Pearse Museum at night

When: November 1, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Where: Pearse Museum
Saint Enda’s Park
Grange Rd, Haroldsgrange, Dublin 16
Cost: Free

Maria Gillen will be giving a lecture on the fascinating life of Emily Weddall in the Pearse Museum on Tuesday, 1 November at 7pm.


Emily Weddall, nee Burke 1867-1952 was born in Edenderry, Co. Offaly to a Church of Ireland Minister and his wife. She trained as a nurse in Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, on qualifying she traveled to France Germany and Russia with her career. In the early 1900’s she married retired sea captain Edward Weddall, the couple settled on Achill in 1906. Around that time she co-founded the Lower Achill Branch of the Gaelic League, and became a regular correspondent, with An Claidheamh Soluis, of which Patrick Pearse was editor. It is through these circles that Emily first met the Pearse family.

Strongly influenced by the cultural revolution of the time, of which Patrick Pearse played a pivotal role in, she co-founded Scoil Acla, an Irish language and cultural school in 1910. Their paths would cross on many occasions, socially, culturally and politically, frequently causing controversy! After 1916 she remained friends with the family and during the struggle for Ireland’s independence, living at their former home at Cullenswood. She took the side of Mrs Pearse, in rejecting the Treaty.

Emily remained a lifelong Republican, her final resting place is in Glasnevin Cemetery in close proximity to the Republican Plot.

Admission is free – no booking required.

Thanks to:

Edenderry Historical society

Scoil Acla Committee;

Pearse Museum


Achill Easter 2016 by;

Minette Glynn

Town Hall Oireachtas 1913 by;

Aengus McMahon Photography

Creative. Results. Delivered.
Two time PPAI (Photojournalism) award winner
Scoil Acla 2016 by;
Minette Glynn

Travel in Victorian Times

Although there are no record of Emily traveling to France, in the passenger lists of the 1890’s she may have fallen below the radar or simply not have been recorded. Passports were not crucial as they are today, but helped to save time and inconvenience. As described below by William Miller in his travel guide Wintering in the Riviera, the reason why is was best to carry a passport.

Travel Check List


…a passport is sometimes useful; it now costs little, and should always be taken. It is easily got under the directions contained in Bradshaw’s Continental Guide, and the visas of the foreign consuls seem now to be unnecessary, at least for the countries in which we were to travel. It is particularly important in some towns, to facilitate the obtaining of registered letters. Even ordinary letters occasionally, as I have found (1872) at Brussels on a former trip (having unfortunately lost my passport at Strasburg), will scarcely be delivered at the Poste Restante without production of the passport or other presumable evidence of identity; and it is said in guide-books, although we have never experienced the benefit of the information, that it operates as an admission to certain places of public resort.


In Emily’s time, a century or more before air-travel and the cheap airfare, all Continental travel had to be done by sea and rail. Unlike today it was possible to take a whole trunk (the size of about ten on the standard ten kilo suitcases on a journey, although, like today there were restrictions on weight too, however, the allowance was quite a bit more than now!

Some ladies seem to travel with their whole wardrobe, or at all events with a useless number of changes of raiment. On one occasion we met a gentleman and lady, who had with them nine huge boxes, nearly filling up the top of a large omnibus, besides smaller articles, including their maid’s modest provision. This is a grievous mistake. Ladies ought to travel with the least possible quantity of changes. More than is fairly needful is inconvenient in many ways. Apart from causing detentions to others, it is a source of anxiety, and is most expensive in countries where the luggage is all weighed, and every pound or extra pound must be paid for.

Bradshaw’s Guide, the definitive travel book of the time



Philanthropy and an encounter with her future husband

On Saturday, April 18, 1896, the following headline appeared in the letters page of the Irish Times

Modern day ‘Kingstown’

The letter was from a Miss Emily Burke and with it was a sum of money collected from her fellow residents of Hotel Splendid in Meneton, France in aid of the families of the men who lost their lives in the Kingstown Lifeboat Disaster of 24th December 1895.

    December 1895 had begun with south-westerly gales which continued to blow without moderating as the wind direction backed around to southeast. This brought a trail of devastation in its wake on land and sea. The River Lee overflowed its banks in Cork and the towns of Skibbereen and Bandon were flooded. Clonmel in Tipperary suffered the same fate. The Blessington steam tram found the road impassable at Tallaght and a local man, Mr. Nicholson, was drowned in a flood in the same locality. Pedestrians had difficulty walking due to high winds and there was great damage to windows from flying slates. Rainstorms swept Dublin city for days… Read more:

RNLI Fundraiser, October 2016

It was from this address that the first hint of Emily’s meeting with her future husband, Edward Weddall was recorded. He made an ostentatious contribution to the fund. Young Emily must have been impressed with his generosity, and he with her concern for others. When their relationship is hard to pin down, but in 1896 his first wife also Emily was still alive so it was probably not then.

The Irish Times – Page 5 Saturday 18 April 1896

Emily Visits the Riviera

In 1879 William Miller published his book Wintering in the Riviera, a travel book, containing his travel notes of Italy and France, to advise travellers. Did Emily read the book? – Unlikely but it was a good history of the early days of destination Riviera.

The Rivera, particularity Mentone was becoming famous as a health spa in the wake of Queen Victoria visiting the location in the 1880’s. Although the climate was known for health benefits long before particularly for people recovering from TB. In his article for The Telegraph, travel expert Anthony Peregrine humorously describes health tourist in the Menton of Emily’s era;

The belief spread quickly through the consumptive classes. It was encouraged by doctors, not least the Manchester-born James Henry Bennett who’d had TB himself and apparently been cured by travelling to Menton. His resultant bestseller, Winter and Spring on the Shores of the Mediterranean, channelled the well-heeled and coughing to the Riviera in general, Menton in particular.

Emily’s services as a nurse would have been in high demand in the days before there was any known cure for TB.



According to her biographer Iosold Ni Dheirg, Emily worked for a family as a private nursemaid and traveled with them to France and Germany. It is not clear how long she stayed in France as a nursemaid with that particular family. She certainly stayed long enough in the country to become a fluent French speaker

With French and a good command of German she had certainly had the option to travel as a nurse. Iosold Ni Dheirg, who knew Emily personally mentioned that she had a great sense of adventure, another reason behind her visit. The third possible reason could possibly have been that she was on a tour of Europe, not an uncommon for young ladies at her time. Having lost her parents and all but one of her siblings, her other relations may have taken her to the Continent as part of her education.

Either one of the ways described or another way completely young Emily found herself in the South of France in the Spring of 1896, having  brush with destiny too.

Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Baile Atha Cliath: Coisceim, 1995