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Commemorative plaque unveiled in honour of Dr Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen

This week saw the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honour of Dr Kathleen Lynn and her partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen for their services to paediatric care in Ireland. 

In addition to their contribution to Irish healthcare and society, both women have extensive links to RCSI. Lynn was a student in RCSI during the 1890s, and was awarded the prestigious Barker Prize in Anatomy in 1898. She later became a fellow of RCSI in 1913. ffrench-Mullen was a member of the Irish Citizen Army Stephen's Green garrison stationed in RCSI during the 1916 Rising.

Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen were heavily involved in the Irish nationalist movement and both played key roles in the events of Easter Week 1916. As a trained doctor, Lynn was Chief Medical Officer of the Irish Citizen Army during 1916 and taught first-aid to Cumann na mBan members. ffrench-Mullen was a lieutenant in the Irish Citizen Army and was in charge of the first-aid station at the RCSI garrison. 

Interior of College Hall in RCSI in the aftermath
of Easter Week. The first aid station was set up
behind the lowered screen at the top of the room.
Dr Kathleen Lynn, left, and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, c1920s.
Image courtesy RCPI Heritage Centre

ffrench-Mullen, assisted at the RCSI first aid station by Bridget Murtagh, Nora O’Daly, and Rosie Hackett, treated the injured using basic first-aid equipment and bandages they found in the College. They had no anaesthetic, so used whiskey and brandy to assist the injured as they stitched their wounds. Their first casualty was Michael O’Doherty, who had been hit twelve times by machine gun fire on the roof of RCSI. He survived and was evacuated to nearby Mercer’s Hospital by the Dublin Fire Brigade. Another insurgent, William Partridge, later swore that the first aid administered by Nora O’Daly for his head wound freed him from the headaches he had suffered with for many years.

St Ultan's Hospital c1920s
Image courtesy RCPI Heritage Centre
The new plaque recognises Lynn and ffrench-Mullen's role as founders of Ireland's first dedicated children's hospital, St Ultan's Infant Hospital. Established on Charlemont St in April 1919, St Ultan's remained in operation until 1984 when it was merged with the National Children's Hospital.