Francis Hugh Power “An Paorach” 1879 – 1955
Francis Hugh Power was born on 27th of January 1879 in Plymouth, England. He was the eldest of 9 children. His father, William Power, a ships captain and later a customs officer, was from Cork, it is believed his mother, Julia Marian Walker was Scottish. Throughout his schooling he excelled at languages. He followed in his fathers footsteps and went to sea, on a long voyage he read an Irish grammar book which sparked his deep interest in Irish culture and the language in particular.In 1907 he got a job with the London Schools Board and it was there he learned Irish and how to play the bagpipes. While in England he joined a branch of Conradh Na Gaeilge and became a very active member. He decided to return to Ireland and enrolled at De La Salle training college in Waterford to study teaching. He qualified and became a ‘muinteoir taistil’ in Tipperary he transferred to Achill and shortly after this he took up a teaching position on Achillbeg.
Among his many interests, which he shared with his pupils, were swimming, karate, backgammon, chess and music. He was a keen and expert sailor and taught many young people how to sail in his boat.
As well as educating local people to a very high standard, he became involved in the foundation of Scoil Acla to promote and teach the Irish language and all things cultural. He was a teacher of Irish, piping, singing and dancing at the school.
In 1922 he left Achill and shortly after this he married Máire Tighe from Aughamore Co.Mayo. They had two daughters. It is believed he taught briefly in Mulranny and Lecarrow before becoming the head teacher of Cuilmore National School in Newport.
In 1944 he moved to Galway and took up a post teaching Irish in the Jesuit’s College. He finally retired in 1954, aged 75. He died shortly afterwards and is buried in Rahoon Cemetary, Galway.