Visitors to Rockfield House, Artists Paul and Grace Henry

Faitle Roimh Geach Gael was the wording on the sign on Emily’s gatepost at Rockfied House or Teach na Carraig, as it became known. The sign on the gate attracted many, mostly from the Gaelic League and later from Nationalist circles. It later became a haven for those on the run during the Independence and civil wars.

Paul Henry in his later years

In the early 1910’s the door of  Rockfield House was open to artists and writers too. Emily was an excellent hostess, she knew how to entertain, and people felt at ease in her hospitality. One such visitor was the artist Paul Henry, who credits Emily in his autobiography, An Irish portrait; the autobiography of Paul Henry; with the only baths he had on Achill.

 “It was to her kindness I was indebted to the only baths I ever got there.”

Besides providing washing facilities for the Henry’s she welcomed them to her home and ensured that they were introduced to the Achill people, and more to the point “the ways peculiar to the island”. The fire place below could well have thrown out heat and light on the cold winter nights that the Henry’s may have spent at Emily’s.

The hearth in Emily’s house “Rockfield”

Irish Times 18 February 1956
Henry, Paul. An Irish Portrait; the Autobiography of Paul Henry. London, New York: B. T. Batsford, 1951.