Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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 Claude Chavasse (1886-1971) and the Gaelic Revival

Claude Albert Chavasse was born in Oxford where his father, Albert Sydney Chavasse was Professor of Classics and a fellow of University College Oxford. Claude read Celtic studies at Oxford and visited the West of Ireland with some Scottish students to learn the Irish language. His sister Marguerite was already in Achill having set up a lace school. Claude learned to speak Irish well and eventually he only conversed in Irish. He also took to wearing Celtic Revival clothes as seen in his portrait by Pádraic Woods on display in Waterford County Museum.

In 1917 he married Maureen Fox in Dublin, who later wrote a biography of Terence McSwiney. Douglas Hyde, and Joseph Hone supported Claude, and author and poet Ella Young, Neilí Ní Bhriain, artist Cesca Trench (Sadhbh Trinseach) and her sister supported Maureen. Claude met his wife through his involvement with the Irish school, Scoil Acla, which was established in 1911 on Achill Island. A number of the women connected with the school became involved in the newly formed Cumann na mBan.

Claude was imprisoned at Richmond Barracks in May 1916 but was later released without charge. He wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary on 9 May 1916 appealing for the release of the prisoners, who were, in his opinion, held in very poor conditions:

In the name of God, for your own honour, for the good of Ireland and so that England will not get a bad name…pay a visit to the prisons and do not allow anybody to suffer as they are (a great number of the prisoners are innocent of the rising) or as they suffer yesterday in any case.

I fear that when an account of this bad treatment and the hardship which these Gaels were subjected reaches America and the other countries, that the people there will be angry; that it will do much harm to the cause of our allies and that it will be more difficult to make a settlement between Ireland, England, and the Colonies. I am in a position to speak of this for I spent six days in Richmond Barracks – it was awful! I cannot understand how old delicate people survived it all.

I am with much respect

Claude Chavasse

President of Gaelic League, Oxford.

He was a distant cousin of the Chavasse family who lived at Whitfield Court (later of Cappagh House), near Waterford, and in the early 1900s he visited his relations there.

In 1925 Claude and his wife acquired Ross House, Galway, former home of Violet Martin. They had a small farm and the farm manager was Martin Tobin from Ballinacourty, Ring, Co Waterford. In 1949 Claud was elected Sinn Féin representative in Galway, using the Irish version of his name – Cluad de Ceabhasa.

 General Claude Chavasse (1886-1971)

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