Bridie Mulloy

Bridie Mulloy and Emily Weddall met when she arrived on Achill to collect the Island folklore, from the older generation before they were no more. Bridie stayed at Corrymore House, former residence of Captain Boycott, and that time was owned by Major Dermot Freyer.

Major Freyer was a friend of Emily’s,and possibly made the introduction between her and Bridie. The Major a former war veteran, bought Corrymore and turned the big house into a hotel. Well connected in artistic circles, he invited his friends to stay at his hotel and perform for the locals such as the Sadler’s Well Ballet Company and troups of Morris Dancer, he even hosted his own tea dances as Bridie mentions in the letter below.

The letter, less than 20 lines tells a lot about the life on Achill in that era. It also gives insight into the people, who lived there in a few words, the letter is a piece of folklore itself.

Croughan Mountain where Emily and friends may have had the idea for Scoil Acla

Corrymore House as it stands today

Corrymore House
Co Mayo

Oct 29 1948

Dear Sean

I expect by now you have given up all hope of ever hearing form me again. However, here I am still to the good. I hope you will like this note book, I feel in many ways that it contains more gossip than folklore, but perhaps, even that may be of some use. I have just started working on my Dungarvan notes, and hope to have at least, one notebook ready fro you within the next few weeks. Actually I would like if you could send me by return two notebooks instead of the usual one, as I do not think that I will be able to fit all the Dungarvan notes into one book, also what about that extra special ink for writing my folklore which some of you promised me? I am not sure as to how Pat McNulty’s “radiant blue” will stand the test of time! It is really wonderful to think that Achill is free of visitors again. We had a very busy season, but the weather was so miserable, that I cannot imagine that many people enjoyed their holidays. Our tea dances were very popular this year – I think that, it was due to the fact that there was nowhere else for people to on a Sunday. Can you imagine 150 people crammed into a lounge, some of the drinking tea and others dancing while the Major roared instructions at them, and two or three of us charged in and out among them with trays? That was our biggest crowd, but similar comedy happened ever Sunday from the beginning of July till the middle of September. So I can tell you that we thanked God when the whole business was over. Give my kind regards to Marie ni Neill and Seamus O’Dallaigh and Brid McMahon, and tell Marie that Mary Lavelle (Tony) keeps the word I should have some notes that would interest her in my next collection. The Major made a very neat job of sticking in those extra pages in the back of this notebook.

National Folklore Collection / Cnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann NFC 1015: 54-9.