Craobh Scoil Acla


  • Diarmuid Gielty
  • An Caiseal
  • Acaill
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Scoil Acla - History

The last decade of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century following the foundation of Connradh na Gaeilge by Douglas Hyde, saw a reawakening of the national spirit. Achill was to play it’s part in this movement. Some of the pioneers of this organisation establised Scoil Acla in 1910.

This was a Summer School for the teaching of Irish; the teaching of Piping (Irish War Pipes) and the promotion of music, dance, song and culture generally. Wearing of the national costume was encouraged. The founding members of Scoil Acla were:

Mrs Weddall, An Paorch, Claude Chevasse, Tomas O’Raghallaigh, Colm O’Loughin, Donal O’Riordain, Darrell Figgis, Miss Eva O’Flaherty, Charlie Barrett.

People came from all parts of Ireland and this was surely the start of the Summer School movement. The famous artist Paul Henry was introduced to the people of Achill by Mrs. Weddal and Achill soon became a haven for artists. Paul Henry was an active member of Scoil Acla and in 1912 was the director of the play ‘Casadh an t-Sugain’ (The Twisting Of The Rope) by Douglas Hyde. This and other plays in the Scoil Acla Hall which Mrs. Weddall built for the people of Achill.

While the language was then on the decline in Lower Achill, it was still spoken by the older generation. Those who spoke it and the musicians, particularly the fiddlers were an integral part of Scoil Acla.The school gradually went into decline and all that remained was the very comprehensive Clar for 1914 and fond memories of those times in the hearts and minds of the older generation.

In 1985 a group of people decided to relaunch the school incorporating all the aims of the original school. The aims of the school are to:

The desire of the organisation is for constructive and steady progress. Scoil Acla was rekindled at 10.00am on Tuesday 6th August 1985. Thirty six pupils enrolled in a course of traditional Irish music at Dooagh School.

Well known music teacher, Paddy Ryan from Roscommon began instruction with twelve young students on fiddles that were promptly bought on the day from Tommy Robinson of Belfast. The remainder were instructed on in tin whistle and concert flute by John McNamara.

Those were the first tentative steps on the road.

Achievements to date include:

SCOIL ACLA 2008 Irish Traditional Music Summer School July 28th - August 2008

Oscailt Oifigiul by John F. Deane in Gielty’s Clew Bay, Du Acha at 9.30pm

Musician in Residence 2008 — Micheal O’Raghallaigh

Monday 28th July

Registration for all classes at Dooagh School 9.00am music Classes daily 10.00am - 1.00pm in various venues across the island. Sean Nos singing classes daily in Dooagh School 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Writers workshop with Macdara Woods Monay July 30th - Friday August 3rd. Commences in Dooniver School Hall 10.00am - 5.00pm

Dance Workshop with Maria O Connor commences in Ted Lavelles, Cashel Daily 11.00am - 2.00pm Basket Weaving one day courses with Kathleen McNea, Bunnacurry School Monday - Friday 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Tuesday 29th July

A talk on fiddle making by Graham Wright at Gielty’s Dooagh 3.00pm

Seisiun at Ted Lavelles, Cashel 6.00pm 8.00pm Duch agus Duchas - teacht le cheile de chlann na Gaeilge do sheoladh “Oireacht Acla” bailiuchain scriobhnoireachta Phadraic Seoighthe (1920-1987) Oiche dramaiochta , filiochta agus ceoil le h-aoinna speisialta ona ceitre Cuigi Le Nora Seoghe Ionad: Ostan oileain Acla 8.30pm

Wednesday 30th July

Traditional Music Recital in St. Thomas’s Church, Dugort 8.30pm

Thursday 1st August

Hata Acla Competition for young musicians in Ted Lavelles, Cashel 6.30pm Poetry Reading With Eilean Ni Chui;;eanain and Macdara Woods. I St. Thomas’s Church, Dugort 8.30pm

Friday 2nd August

Reading from Creative Writing Workshop with Macdara Woods in Ted Lavelles, Cashel 8.30pm

Gala Concert featuring top traditional musicians in the Wavecrest Hotel, Dooagh, 8.30pm

Saturday 3rd. August

Aeraiocht At The Pub Carpark, Dooagh 3.00pm Students will perform class material on stage with their tutors. Featuring the Dooagh Pipe Band

Sunday 4th August

Aifreann an Lae, i Seipeal an Phollaigh 12.00am

Set Dancing Weekend 25th -27th July Classes daily in Halla Acla Achill Sound 10.30am - 5.00pm

Ceili in Halla Acla

Sunday 27th July 9.00pm Music by Haether Breeze and Swallow’s Tail Ceili Bands

Contact Scoil Acla/ Achill Tourism Office Annabelle Phone; +353 98 47353 Diarmuid Gielty Phone; +353 98 43107 Web: Email:[email protected] Accommodation: Web;


The current committee of Craobh Scoil Acla:
Title Name
Cathaoirleach Diarmuid Gielty
Rúnaí Irene Gielty
Cistóir Carol Ann McNulty
P.R.O Tommy English