Madigan Muses: Irish Women Rise: Nurses and Doctors of the Easter Rising
by Marilyn Madigan
Paul Horan, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Trinity College was studying his own family’s participation in the Easter Rising when he stumbled on Margaret Keogh’s story. He shares his research in an article in the Irish Mirror April 13, 2015.
Kehoe was referred as the first martyr by Volunteer Commander Eamon Ceannt. She never made it to the history books. The British were in charge of the propaganda and wanted to hide the story of a uniformed nurse being shot by a British soldier.
It is sad that the Irish did not tell the story but at the time they had their executed leaders’ stories to be told. Margaret Keough was a nurse working at the South Dublin Union who rushed to help the wounded at the time of her death on April 24,1916.
She was shot by a British soldier as she was attending to the patients. Paul Horan is quoted in the article: “She would have been wearing her uniform, so I find it very distasteful. I understand that people might get shot in the crossfire but the notion that a nurse in full uniform going to attend a casualty, was shot, that’s cold-blooded murder.”
Elizabeth O’Farrell remembered in an article for An Phoblacht that “she worked for Irish freedom from her sixteenth year ” In 1906, she joined Inghindhe na hEireann and in 1914 joined the Cumann na mBan.
Constance Markievicz introduced her to James Connolly informing him that she was very trustworthy. Following this introduction, Elizabeth was attached to the Irish Citizen Army. Immediately prior to the Rising, she was sent to Galway advising of the change of the date.
During the Rising she served in the GPO and as a courier. She was one of the last three women in the GPO.
Padraic Pearse chose Elizabeth to take his surrender document to the British and the other Garrisons. She was with Pearse at the time of the formal surrender. After the surrender, she was a prisoner in Kilmainham Gaol.
Dr. Kathleen Lynn
Kathleen Lynn was born in County Mayo. She was the daughter of an Anglican Rector. At an early age, she decided to be a doctor after noticing that her local doctor was “a fount of help and hope.”
In 1899, Dr. Lynn received her medical degree from the Royal University. She taught First Aid to members of Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army. First Aid lectures were given to both the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army, which helped to bring the men and women closer to each other.
Dr. Lynn was member of the Irish Citizen Army, serving as Chief Medical Officer and a Captain. At the City Hall Garrison, she attended to Sean Connolly, the first casualty. After Sean Connolly’s death, Dr. Lynn was the highest-ranking Officer.
When offering the surrender of the City Hall Garrison, she was asked if she was doing work for the Red Cross. Her answer: “I am a Red Cross Doctor and a belligerent.”
In her possession was an automatic revolver and 50 rounds of ammunition. She served prison time in Richmond Barracks, Kilmainham Goal and Mountjoy.
She was to be deported to England due to shortage of physicians and family connections placed in the care of Dr. Cusack. In 1919 Dr. Lynn and Madeline French Mullen founded St. Ultan’s Infant Hospital.
*Marilyn Madigan is a Registered Nurse recently retired from University Hospital. She is an amateur Historian and served as National Irish Historian 2014-2016 for the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, and is . currently serving as National Secretary.