Who was Dr Kathleen Lynn?
Kathleen Lynn was born in Mayo on 28th January 1874, the daughter of Robert Lynn, a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife Catherine Wynn. Kathleen Lynn studied medicine at Cecilia Street (the Catholic University Medical School) graduating in 1899. Following her graduation she worked in a number of Dublin hospitals, and ran a private practice from her home at 9 Belgrave Road, Rathmines, Co. Dublin.
In 1913, at the request of Countess Markievicz, she treated Helena Molony. Molony stayed with Lynn while she recuperated and they ‘used to have long talks and she converted me to the National Movement’. Lynn became active in the suffragist, labour and Nationalist movements. With Molony and Markievicz she supported the workers during the Dublin Lockout in 1913, and Lynn became a friend and supporter of James Connolly.
What was her role in 1916?
Lynn was a member of the Irish Citizen Army, and taught first-aid to them and Cumann na mBan. She used her car to run guns into Dublin in the weeks before the Rising, even storing some at her own house.
Lynn was Chief Medical Officer for the Irish Citizen Army, she was stationed at City Hall, from which post she treated the wounded. The position was re-captured by the British forces on the evening of Easter Monday and Lynn was arrested and imprisoned in Ship Street and Richmond Barracks, Kilmainham and Mountjoy Gaols.
What are the diaries like?
During the first three weeks of her imprisonment Lynn kept a fascinating daily account of events. The account was originally written in blue pencil on scraps of paper, these were later copied into a bound volume, which she continued to use as a diary.
Lynn’s professional background is clear in her concern about lice, fleas, unsanitary conditions and typhus. She also shows concern for the prisoners’ mental health; stress created by imprisonment and the rumours about the fates of comrades. She comments on the benefit of taking exercise, especially when ‘allowed to talk, such a comfort’.