Paula Faller
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Paula Faller


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Nevin Griffith, son of Arthur Griffith, was step-father to Paula Faller. Arthur Griffith and his wife, Maud Sheehan, had two children, Nevin and Ita. Paula’s mother Cathy married Nevin Griffith in 1970. He is remembered as a private man, and Paula recalls the fact that there was little discussion in the household relating to his father. She explains that Nevin felt he had the responsibility of keeping the family papers. He would attend the commemorations of the Rising until his final illness. Following his death Paula’s mother and Nora, daughter of Ita Griffith, decided to donate the Griffith family papers to the National Library of Ireland. Paula describes her step-father as being similar in appearance to his father. He was protective of his father’s reputation and quite reserved, speaking little about his life. She has seen the photographs of Arthur Griffith’s funeral which portray 11 year old Nevin following his father’s coffin. Arthur Griffith died on 11 August 1922 and his friend Michael Collins was to die eleven days later. Paula discusses Arthur Griffith’s reputation, and she expresses her feeling that he has not been given due credit for his achievements. His son Nevin was a quiet, gentle, peace-loving man, she says, and her abiding memory of him is of his integrity and his strong sense of justice. She has done some reading about Arthur Griffith but says that little was ever said about him within the family. Nevin’s mother, Maud Sheehan whom Paula never met, died in 1964 when in her 90s. Her earlier struggle to have an appropriate headstone to her husband erected is discussed. Acrimony occurred in relation to his burial place and the type of headstone to be placed on the grave. Paula reads the inscription written by Arthur Griffith in a copy of John Mitchel’s Jail Journal. She considers the type of commemoration which should take place in the centenary year of 2016, and explains her feeling that the focus should be on the individuals involved in the Rising and the outcome of the event, rather than on political aspects relating to it. The emphasis in documented history on Michael Collins, to the detriment of the reputation of Arthur Griffith, is discussed. Though Nevin did not speak much about his father, Paula knows that he was greatly hurt by people who spoke ill of his parent. Nevin was very interested in politics himself, and widely read, but was not interested in becoming actively involved. Similarly, his sister Ita was not politically involved, though her daughter Nora is active in the Labour Party. Nevin Griffith worked as a barrister and a journalist in his early career. He later joined the civil service and worked in the Land Registry, in time becoming head of the department. He had studied History and Economics at UCD and was a writer like his father. The Griffith family lived at 122 Lawrence’s Road in Terenure in a house bought for Arthur and Maud by their friends. Prior to his marriage Nevin had lived in Terenure with his mother before he and his new family moved to Clontarf. Paula describes a badge which bears the inscription “B2 22” and explains that this may have come from Gloucester Prison. She also discusses a letter sent to Arthur Griffith in which the writer warns him against de Valera. This is among the documents deposited in the National Library.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

21.54 MB

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Nevin Griffith (Interviewee’s step-father)

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore