Emma McGrath Doyle (1911–1983)

Nlresize Emma Mc Grath Doyle
Emma McGrath Doyle (photo courtesy of Madonna McGrath; used with permission).

Emma McGrath Doyle was born in Branch and lived all of her life there. She learned her music from her mother and was known locally as a good singer. Most of her performances happened at house parties around Branch, or down on the Branch wharf—a popular spot for music and dance during the summer months.

Emma was a housewife, first married to Patrick McGrath, and then, after his death, to a man named Doyle. She also was the mother of nine children, of whom four passed away in childhood. She was well-loved by her family and is remembered as a gentle and loving person.


Patrick Reilly / Emma Doyle

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Patrick Reilly / Emma Doyle

Patrick Reilly, song (My name is Patrick Reilly and the truth I will make known …) This ballad relates the story of a certain Patrick Reilly, who plans to emigrate to America to seek his fortune. His sweetheart asks him not to leave, and then accuses him of attempted murder when he persists in his intent. Reilly is charged and sentenced to die. He never sees America.  Variants of this song exist throughout Newfoundland. For example, a version was published by Kenneth Peacock in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 1 (1965:159–160). Another variant was collected by MacEdward Leach.

Biographical Information

Courtesy of Madonna McGrath