1st. Richard Mulcahy, second-year medical student at UCD, is appointed Chief of Staff of the IRA in spring 1918.
11th. In a military base in Kansas, there are outbreaks of an unusually severe form of influenza, which are later understood to be amongst first recorded cases of the Spanish Flu.
21st. The Spring Offensive (21st March-18th July)
21st. A bill was passed by the British Government to enforce conscription on all Irish men of military age, an Anti-conscription pledge signed by Nationalists.
11th. End of WW1
14th. 1918 Elections. Sinn Féin win landslide in general election.
The above are some of the events that shaped 1918. Emily had her own personal ups and downs that year too. The Great War was over and a sort of peace was restored, but in Ireland that would not last.
1917, the previous year saw the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Emily had investments in Russian industry, which were wiped and she lost her income. The realisation of her predicament did not hit her till the following year, 1918, when she returned home from her travels to be met with a pile of bills and bank statements that revealed her dire financial state. Emily had no choice but to return to work. Luckily she had her nursing career to fall back on. Her skills would become a necessity. In March of 1918 the first cases of Spanish Flu were reported.
“In a military base in Kansas, there are outbreaks of an unusually severe form of influenza, which are later understood to be amongst first recorded cases of the Spanish Flu. Over the coming year, this strain of flu kills an estimated 50,000,000 people.”
Later on it would come to Ireland. “Republican women in Cumann na mBan and the Citizen Army opened emergency hospitals during the epidemic.” Emily would find employment in the Meath Hospital, where she would remain for the duration of the epidemic and beyond. Most of her friends and colleagues would catch the flu, most would survive but her friend Cessca Trench would succumb to it. Emily herself escaped it completely.
In the wider world women would get the vote and for the first time. In Ireland after a long campaign they succeeded in getting the right for women to vote too. But they had to be 30 years of age and own property. Emily, who fell into that perhaps tiny category would have embraced the opportunity to cast her vote.
Sinn Fein won the the General Election of that year, but they did not take their seats in Parliament, abstention being their policy. Emily’s fellow Cumann na mBan member Countess Markievicz was the first woman elected, but did not take her seat in Westminster, probably to Emily’s satisfaction.
Nottingham Evening Post 20 May 1918