One hundred years ago today, 3 May 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, the partition of Ireland took place. The then Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland divided Ireland into two self-governing zones, Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. Emily had Northern Irish family origins, in Ardglass, Co. Down when her maternal grandfather, Richard M’Arthur was born, as was her mother.
It is one hundred and five years since the first executions of the 1916 Rebels began, starting with Patrick Pearse.
Also one hundred years ago on this day the Tourmakeady Ambush took place in Co. Mayo. The South Mayo Flying Column, backed by local volunteers staged an attack on a convey of lorries carrying supplies to the RIC station there. Read more:
It is ten years since I took this photo of the the lonely grave of Emily M. Weddall. In the historical Republican Plot, it was perhaps the only unmarked final resting place of those who fought for Irish Independence.
It remained unmarked for many decades as Emily died without descendants, and her closest surviving relatives no nearer than Australia. Apart from the occasional visit from her friends, fewer and fewer as the year rolled by. But in 2012, sixty years after her death members of Scoil Acla, the same summer school she co-founded in 1910, decided to remedy the situation. In November of that year unveiled, a gravestone befitting the character of Emily Weddall.
The gravestone with an stained glass inset was meticulously chosen by the committee of Scoil Acla. It is a symbol of and a tribute to Emily who donated her stained glass panel of St. Brendan, by Wilhelmina Geddes (1887–1955) to Curran Catholic Church. Geddes was an Irish born stained glass artist, whose work graces churches, art galleries and museums all over the world. Emily purchased the piece at an art fair in London in 1925.
Established by Conradh na Gaeilge in 1902, the festival runs from 1 – 7 March every year and has gone from strength to strength in recent years. It is now one of the biggest international celebrations of our native language and culture.
By 1904, two years after Seachtain na Gaeilge was introduced the festival was well established, and well attended thanks to the efforts of the Gaelic League. By 1905 the festival became a demonstration of Irish Ireland.
The Irish Language procession yesterday through the principal thoroughfares of the city afforded, one again, a very striking proof of the hold which the moment initiated by the Gaelic League has taken upon the Metropolis of Ireland and the districts adjoining. In most respects the features of the procession closely resembled those of previous years. the several branches of the League in the city and suburbs ewer well represented, and walked may hundreds strong, in the ranks of the processionists.
Irish Independent 13 March 1905
In 1905 the Great Language Procession, was an advance of the previous three years. It had by and large a political as much as a cultural element. It was as much a cultural protest; “The powerful protest against the hostility of the G.P.O. expressed dramatically in tableau, repeated in hundreds of printed legends, and echoed in countless personal denunciations.” as reported in the Irish Independent. It was a showcase for indigenous Irish industries too. Baker’s showed off their bread and cakes, even boot-makers showed off their wares too. The youth named as “Young Ireland” was well represented by pupils from the Christian Brother’s as well as other organisations.
The good and the great of the Gaelic League were present founder, Douglas Hyde, Dr. Walsh Archbishop of Dublin and Patrick Pearse, lead the procession. Other lesser known attendees, including Emily were listed too:
A few days later Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated with equal pageantry, a fortnight later Emily Burke made her way to London to become the second Mrs. Weddall and eleven years later in 1916 outside the mentioned G.P.O, some of the people listed declared Ireland a Republic.