Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Kathleen Lynn

Biography

The daughter of a Church of Ireland clergyman in Co. Mayo, Kathleen Lynn received an education in England, Germany, Ireland and the USA before qualifying as a doctor. She became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1909 and a year later became the first female resident doctor at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in London, where she worked as a clinical assistant. She assisted in the soup kitchens during the 1913 Lockout, and later joined the Irish Citizen Army, serving as their chief medical officer in City Hall during the Easter Rising. Afterwards she was imprisoned alongside Helena Molony and Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen in Kilmainham Gaol. She later recalled her experiences in the gaol: “Madame Markievicz was overhead in the condemned cell and we used hear reports that she was to be executed… We could hear the shootings in the mornings, and we would be told afterwards who it was. It was a very harrowing experience.” She renewed her commitment to social and national causes upon her release, becoming vice-president of the Sinn Féin executive and honorary vice-president of the Irish Women Workers’ Union in 1917. Lynn was arrested again in 1918, but was hastily released in order to assist in the fight against the Spanish flu epidemic. Along with her close Ffrench-Mullen she established St Ultan’s Hospital for Infants, also known as Teach Ultain, in 1919. She was elected in the Dublin county constituency as an anti-Treaty Sinn Féin candidate in 1923, but subsequently lost her seat four years later. Lynn spent most of her remaining years dedicated to public-health, running Teach Ultain as well as her private practice at 9 Belgrave Road, Rathmines.

 

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