The daughter of a Royal Navy surgeon, Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen was born in Malta and raised in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. A member of the feminist group Inghinidhe na hEireann, she oversaw the children’s column in the organisation’s Bean na hÉireann journal. She later became involved in the labour movement, working in a soup kitchen and raising funds during the 1913 Lockout. Ffrench-Mullen was an officer with the Irish Citizen Army and participated in the Easter Rising, stationed St Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons. She took charge of the first aid tent, amongst other duties, and was promoted to sergeant over the course of the fighting. Following the surrender, she was briefly imprisoned in Richmond Barracks and Kilmainham Gaol. She renewed her position as a prominent advocate of social causes in the years following the Rising and, along with her close friend Katleen Lynn, established St. Ultan’s Children’s Hospital, also known as Teach Ultain, on Charlemont St. in 1919. Although she became active within Sinn Féin, Teach Ultain took over most of her time. She died the day after the celebration of its 25th anniversary, on 26th May, 1944.
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