Cesca Chenevix Trench: life and works

Cesca Chenevix Trench (3 February 1891 – 30 October 1918) was an Anglo-Irish woman who became an Irish nationalist illustrator. She adopted the Irish identity and took the Irish name Sadhbh Trinseach.

Francesca Georgina Chenevix Trench was born in the vicarage of St John the Baptist Church, Tuebrook, Liverpool. She was the granddaughter of Richard Chenevix Trench, the Archbishop of Dublin. She grew stirring in a vicarage in Kent. Her mother was a Unionist; like many of her generation, Cesca became an Irish nationalist. Her uncle Henry Butcher was a Unionist MP for Cambridge; they drew apart after 1910 bearing in mind he did not preserve the involve to make Irish compulsory in the other National University.

Trench studied at a boarding educational in Malvern from 1906 to 1908, where she began to maintain Irish Home Rule in public. In 1908–1913 she lived in Folkestone but spent each summer in Ireland and attended summer speculative in 1909–1913, notably the influential Scoil Acla upon Achill Island. There she met Diarmid Coffey, her later husband, as skillfully as others influential in Conradh na Gaeilge, Claud Chavasse, Ella Young, Lily Williams and Agnes O’Farrelly.

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Trench’s older cousin Dermot Chenevix Trench, the model for Haines in Ulysses and her sister Margot were moreover Irish nationalists. Dermot first taught her to speak Irish, and influenced her edit into the Irish-Ireland movement, whose members bought Irish-made goods for preference, and fostered Irish literature, art and culture. Cesca opened an account at Gleason’s, a shop in Dublin that sold unaided Irish products, and swore off beverage and tobacco unless they were produced in Ireland. When a further campaign for Home Rule begun in 1912, Cesca and Margot collected signatures for a petition that anything Irish taxes should be lodged in an Irish treasury. They collected Irish folklore, customs and traditions.

Dermot took his own sparkle in 1909. “He might have done so much gone such ability,” she wrote to her brother Herbert after Dermot shot himself.

In October 1913 Trench moved to Paris to assay art. There she began to fascination political cartoons in maintain of Irish Home Rule. She also made an Irish ‘national dress’ costume, and personal ad designs for the Gaelic League paper An Claidheamh Soluis, edited by Patrick Pearse, and painted Irish scenes. She returned to Dublin in June 1914.

Trench supported the Irish Literary Revival, was in action in the import of guns for the Irish Volunteers and allied their women’s auxiliary branch Cumann na mBan, where she assistant professor first aid. In July 1914 she witnessed the Bachelor’s Walk massacre, when soldiers of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers fired on civilians, killing three and wounding 32 after the Howth gun-running. In Lusk village in north Dublin she founded a extra branch of Cumann na mBan. In July 1914 she took up play in at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, where she worked until April 1916.

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Her three brothers, Arthur, Charles Reginald (Reggie) and Herbert Chenevix Trench, joined the British Army in 1914 on the outbreak of World War I, Reginald (Reggie), to whom she was particularly close, as an commissioner in the Sherwood Foresters.

When the Easter Rising began upon April 24, 1916, she left home to join the further auxiliaries in St Stephen’s Green. She delivered first aid supplies to the headquarters garrison at the GPO, then withdrew to Killiney Hill and well along returned home. In her diary, which was written in Irish, with parts forward-looking published in translation by Hilary Pyle as Cesca’s Diary, she wrote of the Easter Rising as a tragic mistake. The British soldiers who were shipped into Ireland to lawsuit the Rising and who formed the firing squads that executed the leaders, were from the 2/5th and 2/6th battalion of her brother’s regiment, the Sherwood Foresters.

She and her mom feared that she would be arrested for her involvement subsequently the movement, but nothing happened, despite thousands of nationalist men and women living thing arrested and deported to English and Welsh jails. Cesca’s brother Reggie had arrived in Dublin almost 3 May, the daylight of the executions of the first three leaders Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh and Thomas Clarke after the Rising; he was an superintendent in the 2/5th battalion.

After the Rising, Trench continued to attend Cumann na mBan meetings, and to study Irish art in the National Museum. She organised a perform about Brian Boru and painted murals at Carrigaholt Irish College. She made sketches of Sinn Féin and Gaelic League meetings and created Christmas cards. She befriended Lily Yeats of Dun Emer Press.

On Saint Patrick’s Day 1917, 17 March, Trench entirely to marry Diarmid Coffey — despite earlier writing that, torn amid Coffey and the tempting Claud Chavasse, her adore for Claud was “the genuine thing”. Her brother Reggie, Acting Major similar to the 2/5th 59th, was killed upon the Western Front three days after Coffey’s proposal, in a German vile that whatever but wiped out his regiment, the 59th, known as the Sherwood Foresters or Notts and Derby. He left a wife, Clare, and a baby daughter, Delle. The couple decided – as many did in wartime – not to interrupt their wedding despite her brother’s death. Lily Yeats helped Cesca behind her wedding gown. Cesca and Diarmid married upon 17 April 1918, and had their honeymoon in the Kerry Gaeltacht.

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That October, Cesca caught the virulent Spanish flu. She died on 30 October 1918, a major loss to Irish art. She was mourned as Sadhbh Trinseach by the Gaelic League.

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