President of UCD Camogie
Club until 1951
Agnes O’Farrelly was born 24 June 1874 in Raffony, Virginia, Co Cavan. She was one of five daughters of Peter Dominic O’Farrelly and Ann Sheridan. She attended Raffony National school and later was a boarder at the Holy Faith Convent Glasnevin, Dublin. She attended St Mary’s Dominican University Academy in Dublin where girls attended lectures and prepared for examinations of the Royal University. She was awarded a B.A. in 1889 and an M.A. in modern literature in 1890. She was appointed lecturer in Irish at Alexandra and Loreto Colleges and in 1901 was elected to the Coiste Gno, the executive committee of Conradh na Gaeilge. She was appointed lecturer in Modern Irish at UCD in 1909 and was also a member of the first UCD governing body and the NUI senate from 1914 to 1949. In 1932 on the retirement of Douglas Hyde, she was appointed professor of modern Irish in UCD and held the position until her retirement in 1947.
She presided at the inaugural meeting of Cumann na mBan (1914) was a close friend of Roger Casement and was instrumental in organising a petition that sought a reprieve of his death sentence. She was a member of the committee of women which negotiated unsuccessfully with the IRA leaders to avoid civil war in 1922. She was a great advocate for the game of camogie and founded a branch of the Camogie Association in UCD in 1915. She persuaded her friend Lord Ashbourne to donate the Ashbourne cup for Inter Varsity competition. The period 1916 to 1921 were difficult years for the Association when camogie matches were listed as illegal activities. The Camogie Association reorganised itself in the 1920s and Agnes Farrelly was very much to the fore. Her academic status and talent for leadership ensured she was an influential figure in the Association. She presented a trophy, the O’Farrelly Cup and medals for the Dublin
Senior League competition. On 24 February 1934 the Camogie Association passed a motion by 26 votes to 17 that the foreign games ban of the G.A.A be adopted by the Association. Agnes argued against the ban saying that it would be creating a barrier between hockey and camogie. Agnes was elected vice president of the Association in 1933, became president for life in 1938.
Agnes Farrelly was popular among students at UCD and entertained frequently at her homes in Dublin and the Donegal Gaeltacht. She was a great supporter of native Irish industry and was president of the Irish Industrial Development Association and was administrator of the John Connor Magee Trust for the development of Gaeltacht industry.
She retired from UCD in 1947, lived at 38 Brighton Rd, Rathgar and died 5 November 1951. Agnes Farrelly was a poet and writer in both Irish and English and often used the pseudonym ‘Uan Uladh’.
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