Category Archives: War of Independence

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

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

Darrell Figgis sets up a new paper “The Republic”

In June 1919, writer, Darrell Figgis as editor began a new newspaper called ‘The Republic’, for an independent Ireland that was yet to emerge.

The publication had a short lifespan. It appeared to end a year into independence the paper’s print run came to an end. On October 7th 1922 copies of the publication were “seized and destroyed”. The reason given, that in a recent issue Civic Guard, Sergeant Fox, who was at the time subject to an inquest was slandered by the paper. Darrell Figgis, on the side of the ordinary man put it to the head of Government if it was their intention to compensate the newspaper vendors and paperboys. No reply was reported.

Darrell Figgis
Sources

Weekly Freeman’s Journal 07 October 1922

Derry Journal 13 June 1919

Larne Times 14 October 1922

More Cases of Flu

In January 1919, while the fist Dail was being formed and the Anglo Irish War was beginning. Life as continued as normal in most parts of the country. On Achill it was impossible to tell that great changes were unfolding in the country. Most people in Ireland, including Achill were too busy dealing with their immediate environment to contemplate what was taking place nationally.

After the Great War unemployment was high, but a new type of welfare was introduced, but that didn’t stretch too far if there was a number of mouths to feed. To make to make matters worse, the dreaded flu was still ravaging the land. Achill was not exempt, and in the first few weeks of the new year there were new cases. Had Emily been there at the time she would have been caring for the victims. But she was still in Dublin, nursing victims there and hoping to stave off the loss of her house for all long as possible.

Sources

Roscommon Messenger 18 January 1919

https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/new-unemployment-benefit-sees-massive-take-up-in-ireland

“All in a Flash.”

On Janruary 21st 1919, while the first Dail were meeting at the Manison House another event was unfolding outside a little village in County Tipperary. The village, Soloheadbeg, the event was the fist shots of the War of Independence.

23 January 1919 – Freeman’s Journal – Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

The article above appeared in the Freeman’s Journal two days afterwards. The headline “All in a Flash”, sums up how the war began. It would continue for two and a half years, ending in a truce on July 11th 1921.

“The War of Independence in Ireland which encompassed the years 1919 to1921 was a conflict involving the forces of the Irish Republic – Sinn Fein and its allied organisations, the IRA, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna – on one side…On the other side was the British Government in Ireland based in Dublin Castle.”

Sean Hogan

National Director, Fire and Emergency Management, Custom House.

Gillis Liz, May 25 Burning of The Custom House 1921, Kilmainham Tales TEO

For the war’s two and a half years duration Emily lived mostly in Dublin. Although in its early stages most activity took place in Munster. In early part of the year as the Spanish flu still raged, Emily’s time was taken up on the wards. Later on in the year she had more time to take up on her causes, which led to her involvement.


Sources

23 January 1919 – Freeman’s Journal – Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Gillis Liz, May 25 Burning of The Custom House 1921, Kilmainham Tales TEO