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Achill Ghost Story

This is a very short ghost story, perhaps the shortest ever told. Complete in three sentences it tells a lot but explains little.

“There was a woman in Achill who was expecting visitors one night. It was getting late. And she sat on the chair and she fell asleep. When she got up she saw a funeral outside the window. Then she said “Lord save me” and it disappeared.”

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0087, Page 27. Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD.

Gentlewoman 09 January 1904

Happy Birthday Emily

On this day 1867 Emily was born at Windsor Terrace, Edenderry, County Offaly, then King’s County.

On this day one hundred years ago Emily turned 54. At the time a treaty between Ireland and Britain was in the process of being ironed out between both sides. But there was there was a lot more to do with many letters, telegrams and phone calls crisscrossed the Irish Sea until the situation came to a head in December. He spoke at an event in aid of Irish Republican Prisoners in Shelbourne Park, Dublin, that Emily if she was in Dublin at the time would have attended.


Derry Journal 25 September 1867

30 September 1921 – Freeman’s Journal – Dublin, Dublin, Republic o

Happy Birthday Emily

18th September 1867

Emily Arabella Maynard Burke was born on September 1867 at Windsor Terrace, in the quiet little town of Edenderry, Co. Offaly, then King’s County. In the year of her birth one of the major uprisings against British Rule in Ireland took place, the Fenian Rising of 1867. It failed. Many of the leaders were arrested and imprisoned in the UK.

Later on that year, in the aftermath of the uprising, which took place on the very day of Emily’s birth an event took place in Manchester, England:

Manchester Martyrs
“On 18 September 1867 about 50 Irish Fenians, led by William Allen, attacked a prison van guarded by a large number of unarmed police at Hyde Road in Manchester, England. Their aim was to release two important Fenian prisoners, Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy.” Read more

18th September 1867 is documented in Fenian Folklore as the day of the “Smashing of the Van.” Interestingly enough, nearly fifty years later Emily was imprisoned for her attempt to take part in the Uprising of Easter 1916, which had roots in that of 1867. In 1922 Ireland won her freedom, a tiny part of that could be attributed to Emily. A lifelong Nationalist her favorite song was Bold Fenian Men also called, Down by the Glenside. Penned in the wake of the 1916 Rising by Peadar Kearney who also wrote the Irish National Anthem, The Soldier Song. No doubt his and Emily’s paths crossed occasionally. Perhaps she got to complement him personally for penning her favorite song.

Happy Birthday Emily


Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 18 September 1867

Achill Railway; The early years

The time the railway was completed, tourism began to take off in the West of Ireland. With the new improved infrastructure of rail and roads, tourist began to make their way west. Before that it was only the odd intrepid traveler that wandered to remote Island. In the 1870’s newspapers and magazines began to recommend Achill and similar places such as Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher as tourist destinations, talking about them as them as they were new discoveries, which in a way these places were at the time.

The above was written in 1877, when tourist books on Ireland were beginning to be printed, enticing visitors to places such as Connemara and Clare and the lesser known regions of Donegal and Achill. The areas mentioned would be known collectively as the Wild Atlantic Way.

The above accounts were taken from the Handbook of the Midland, Great Western Railway Guide to Connemara and the West of Ireland.


recommending Achill Pall Mall Gazette 04 October 18772

Handbook of the Midland Great Western Railway Guide to Connemara and the West of Ireland.