Claude Chavasse

1886 – 1971

claude_chavasse_1886_1971Claude Albert Chavasse was born in Oxford on the 2nd April 1885. His father was Albert Sydney Chavasse a Professor of Classics and a Fellow of University College Oxford. Claude seemed to have been interested in Irish culture from an early age. He appears to have been a perennial student having entered Oxford in 1903 but didn’t collect his degree until 1909. He was still on the university register in 1916. His sister Margureite Chavasse came to Achill to set up a Lace School in Keel. Claude decided to visit Achill and he became involved in Scoil Acla.

In 1917 he met and married Moirin Fox, a writer who later wrote the biography of Terence McSwiney, Mayor of Cork. They had one daughter called Aebhgreine.

In 1925 Chavasse was the secretary of the Knocknacarra branch of Conradh na Gaeilge in Galway, he had became a well known figure around the city because of his way of dress. He wore a saffron kilt and cloak. He was an avid Irish speaker and refused to speak English. At one time while in Cork, he was fined £5 by a Macroom court for speaking Irish to a police constable. Rather than paying the fine he instead spent two nights in jail. He was elected as the Galway representative for Sinn Fein at the Ard Feis in 1949 under the name Cluad de Ceabhasa.

He is buried in Kilcummin Cemetary, Oughterard, Galway.