Category Archives: Nursing

Dublin, November 1919

November 11th 1919 marked a full year since the Great War ended. It was almost a year since the beginning of another, the War of Independence. To an onlooker, it might have been hard to believe there was any conflict at all in most part of the country, apart from Munster and Dublin. There were plenty reports in the newspapers, telling of guerilla warfare such as ambushes and arson attacks on the authorities.

In the wake of the Uprising of 1916, when martial law war was declared, then relaxed when thing quietened down. But on July 5th 1918  – Sinn Féin, the Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic League have all been proclaimed as illegal organisations by the Lord Lieutenant and banned. From time to time the papers contained notices such as the below reiterating the ban.

At the time Emily was living in Dublin at the time at an address in Ranelagh, away from her home in Achill. She had found employment in her old profession as a nurse, the previous year on the outbreak of Spanish Flu. She was in serious debt, having to work all the hours she could to save her home. She had little time to take part in political activities, but it did not stop her selling flags for the listed organisations, as an act of defiance as much as a support to them.

Sinn Fein Headquarters at 6 Harcourt Street
Sources
Irish Times 27 November 1919

Freeman’s Journal 30 November 1920

https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/banned-sinn-fein-irish-volunteers-cumann-na-mban-and-the-gaelic-league

Kathleen Florence Lynn

On this day in 1955 Dr. Kathleen Lynn was laid to rest in her family plot in Deansgrange Cemetery, Dublin. Dr. Lynn and Emily’s friendship spanned at least four decades, up till Emily’s death in 1952. Kathleen outlived her by three years. The two women had much in common, their lives taking similar courses. Both had careers in the medical field, Kathleen a doctor, Emily a nurse.

The coast of Killala, birthplace of Dr. Kathleen Lynn

Dr. Lynn graduated from the college. She was one of a small number of girls that won scholarships to the University of Dublin, where she began her medical career.

Dr Kathleen Lynn Lane, Ballina, Co. Mayo
Sources
Dublin Daily Express 29 June 1893

Emily, Dr. Kathleen Lynn and the founding of St. Ultan’s Hospital

St Ultan’s

It is one hundred years since the founding of St. Ultan’s Hospital, by Dr. Kathleen Lynn and Madeline Ffrench Mullen. It was supported by many of Dr. Lynn’s and Emily’s mutual friends, Darrell and Millie Figgis, Maude Gonne and the Williams sisters along with many more people of influence. The Hospital was set up in response to medical and social conditions in Dublin, particularly for women and children at the time. Many were living in dire poverty and the infant mortality particularly high. The Hospital was staffed by female doctors including Dr. Alice Barry and Dr Dorothy Stopford-Price.

Emily helped out when she could and no doubt contributed to and/or helped with the fundraising. A nurse by profession she helped in the hospital from time to time too.

When the hospital opened in May 1919, it had only two cots, so fundraising was necessary. One such event took place a few months later.

From Countess Markeivitz speech at the opening in 1920

Sources

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/healthcare-in-the-war-of-independence-st-ultan-s-children-s-hospital-1.3750, Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 00:00 Sinéad McCoole

https://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/st-ultans-a-womens-hospital-for-infants/

https://www.rcpi.ie/heritage-centre/1916-2/who-is-dr-kathleen-lynn/

Irish Citizen 07 June 1919

Irish Citizen 04 October 1919

The opening of the Eiffel Tower and Emily’s travels in France

Today the Eiffel Tower turns 130. When unveiled first it was quite a marvel. “A Nineteenth Century wonder” it was called, but before Parisians saw it as a wonder to behold they were quite skeptical during construction. As one paper reported it was cited as a “Metallurgical Monstrosity.”

Emily visited France in the 1890’s she may have been to Paris taking in the spectacle of the newly constructed Eiffel Tower herself, or even may have a lift to highest point accessible to the public at at the time. It was in her character to do so as she was once described by a friend as “intrepid”. It is possible that she may have been to France at an earlier date as she spoke fluent French.

Sources

13 April 1889 – Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian – Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland Cambridge Daily News 03 April 1889

St. Patrick’s Day on Achill in the time of Emily

“One Home Two Away”

It was possible that Emily spent St. Partick’s Day on Achill in 1919. The worst of the flu epidemic was over ending her long hours of nursing its victims. She was now free to travel back home to Achill after a long absence. Dublin was now her temporary home, as her employment as a nurse was there. However, correspondence with Fainne an Lae, the new name for the Gaelic League weekly, located her in Achill in March 1919.

St. Partick’s Day was then as it is now a big festival on Achill, celebrating it in the same way it was celebrated in 1882, to mark the fourteen hundred and fifty years that the saint arrived in Ireland.That year the Church called for a special effort to be made by the people of Ireland to celebrate the anniversary. Achill was well prepared. The year before the First Band or Tom Vesey’s Band was formed. Initiated by him and some local musicians.

“The First Band had always been known as Tom Vesey’s Band. Tom Vesey lived in the middle of the Village [Dooagh] and as a youngster he served his time in Scotland as a cooper… Tom Vesey was by all accounts a gifted cooper, and like all artists he tried something new, he made a wooden frame for a bass drum, a tanned goat skin was used to complete the drum. That drum was carried in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade for 26 Years.

As Time Marches on; A Brief History of Dooagh Pipe Band 1882-1982,

Some years later when St. Partrick’s Day became an official holiday (1903), and the Gaelic League took over, the local branch put on a concert, where the islanders were entertained with music, drama and song. When Emily arrived on Achill the agenda for St. Patrick’s Day was well established. She was happy to get involved and when the night was over her husband, Captain Weddall treated the performers to tea and cake.

The Accrington Drum

Years later, still when the Gaelic League and Scoil Acla was well established on Achill and when the Dooagh Band had acquired a new drum. The large drum was a gift from grateful music fans from Accrington, Lancashire. It went down in folklore as the Accrington Drum.

In 1914 a Mr. Rainsford was brought in by Mrs. Weddall, director of Scoil Acla to teach new members of the Band new tunes on the flute, he also trained the drummers. He trained them to cross the sticks on the big drum. He called the style – “One home two away”.

As Time Marches on; A Brief History of Dooagh Pipe Band 1882-1982


Sources

As Time Marches on; A Brief History of Dooagh Pipe Band 1882-1982; J.J. McNamara, J. McNamara, N.T.

Mayo News April 04 1908. Page 3

Special thanks to John ‘Twin’ McNamara